The previous two Pittsburgh Penguins (19-11-1) games against the New Jersey Devils (10-14-4) haven’t exactly been the caffeine kick after a six-pack of Red Bull. The well-played games featured less pushing and shoving than the jello line at Shady Pines, but Sunday is the third game of the three-game set, and the Penguins badly need points to stay ahead of their East Division pursuers.
According to Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, Brandon Tanev is a game-time decision. Tanev missed Saturday as a late scratch due to injury.
UPDATE: Tanev did not take warmups and is a scratch.
The Penguins and Devils will drop the puck just after 1 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena to conclude their three-game set.
The Boston Bruins are just one point behind the Penguins with two games in hand. But a few more Penguins points could push Philadelphia over the edge. The reeling Flyers are six back with two games in hand and are struggling to keep pace.
The Penguins beat New Jersey 3-1 on Saturday. Here is the Penguins report card and Xs and Os analysis for PHN+ subscribers. You should also read the latest “Off the Record.” Here’s how to become a PHN+ subscriber and join the outlet taking a pretty big bite out of the establishment. Join PHN+.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will confirm the goalie choice at 11 a.m., but the solid bet is Tristan Jarry. Casey DeSmith got the surprise start and stopped 24 of 25 shots in the Penguins 3-1 win.
The Penguins penalty kill allowed just one shot on three New Jersey power plays, but the Devils do have one of the worst power plays in the NHL.
If Mackenzie Blackwood is healthy, he’ll start in goal for New Jersey. Otherwise, Aaron Dell will go, or perhaps Scott Wedgewood gets his third straight start in the series.
What to Watch:
The Penguins will again be without Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger. Their game plan will again be about getting to the net and getting shots through the crowded house that New Jersey creates.
The Devils have been sagging back to pack the slot and defend against the Penguins rush.
The Penguins did an adequate job on Saturday, much better than Thursday, of getting to the net and creating screens. Wedgewood still saw far too many of the Penguins’ 29 shots, but it was better when he saw all of the Penguins’ 42 shots on Thursday.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the rekindling of the Sidney Crosby–P.K. Subban un-love affair? The two have been jawing, yapping, jousting, and grinding more as the games progressed.
You may also remember Crosby using Subban’s head like a basketball in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
I thought you might enjoy that little memory. It’s No—3 on our list of Top 5 Crosby moments.
The game will come down to three things: Who has energy, the Penguins breaking the New Jersey pack, and second chances near the net.
Brandon Tanev would help in all of those areas, too.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines & Special Teams
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Freddy Gaudreau|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
Expected New Jersey Devils Lines
|Janne Kuokkanen||Jack Hughes||Yegor Sherangovich|
|Andreas Johnsson||Nico Hischier||Marian Studenic|
|Miles Wood||Michael MCleod||Nathan Bastian|
|Nolan Foote||Mikhail Maltsev||Nick Merkley|
|Ryan Murray||Damon Severson|
|Wil Butcher||P.K. Subban|
|Jonas Siegenthaler||Matt Tenison|
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
Position, Player (Consecutive Games Missed, Total Games Missed)
F Jason Zucker (14 consecutive, 14 total)
D Mark Friedman (9 consecutive, 9 total)
F Teddy Blueger (3 consecutive, 3 total)
F Evgeni Malkin (2 consecutive, 2 total)
F Brandon Tanev (1 consecutive, 1 total)
2020-21 Total Regular-Season Man-Games Lost: 165
*The Penguins are 4-2-0 in its last six games against New Jersey dating back to Feb. 19, 2019
*The Penguins have earned points in 12 of their last 17 games (12-5-0)
*The Penguins are 1-2-0 in the second of back-to-back games.
*With a win today, Jarry will pass Johan Hedberg and Roberto Romano for ninth place on the Penguins all-time win list.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet, NHL Network; Radio: 105.9 The X