Let’s try this again, shall we? On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins (42-22-11) reduced their magic number to three points with a shootout loss to the New York Islanders at UBS Arena. The Penguins could have clinched a playoff berth with a regulation win but had to rally to force extra time. A win of any sort gets the job done on Thursday at PPG Paints Arena.
The puck drops just after 7 p.m.
UPDATE: Penguins wingers Bryan Rust and Evan Rodrigues are IN the lineup.
It is also Game No. 2 of Evgeni Malkin’s four-game suspension.
The Penguins played a different game in each period during their SO loss on Tuesday. They were loose and not very good in the first period. They were extraordinary in the second and trading chances in the third.
The Penguins defensemen are also faltering.
However, the Penguins’ top-three seeding is no longer a sure thing. They lead the Washington Capitals by only three points in the Metro, and Washington has two games in hand. Further complicating scenarios, the Boston Bruins are the top wild card. They and the Penguins have 95 points, but Boston also has two games in hand.
The Penguins could fall to the second wild card and play the Florida Panthers in Round One…assuming they make the playoffs.
Tristan Jarry will likely return to the Penguins net after a little breather. The Islanders are most likely to return to Ilya Sorokin, who was solid despite facing 45 Penguins shots on Tuesday.
The Penguins are still dealing with illness. Bryan Rust and Evan Rodrigues did not participate in the morning skate.
Head coach Mike Sullivan said both Rust and Rodrigues feel better but are game-time decisions. If necessary, he did not rule out using a defenseman at forward (probably Mark Friedman), though he seemed to indicate that if one or both Rust and Rodrigues cannot go, the Penguins will be shorthanded.
“If they can’t (play), that answers your question (if they’ll play shorthanded),” Sullivan deadpanned.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Rickard Rakell|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Radim Zohorna||Teddy Blueger||Brock McGinn|
|Drew O'Connor||Ryan Poehling||Drake Caggiula|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|Ty Smith||Jan Rutta|
Expected Islanders Lines, per NYIHockeyNow.com:
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
*The Penguins have points in 14 of its last 16 games against New York (10-2-4) and are 13-4-4 over its last 21 games versus the Islanders
*Brian Boyle has points (4-4-8) in eight of his last nine home games.
*Jeff Carter has 49 points (23-26-49) in 53 career games versus the Islanders.
*Sidney Crosby is up to a team-high 77 points (28-49-77) and is three shy of hitting the 80-point plateau for the 11th time in his career, which would be most among all active players. Alex Ovechkin also has 10 seasons with 80 points.
*Rickard Rakell has factored in on five of the last seven Penguins goals (5A) and has 10 points (3-7-10) in 12 games.
Pittsburgh Penguins Betting
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How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X