The Pittsburgh Penguins (5-5-1) are at 20% of their NHL season and are in the middle of the pack in the East Division, currently out of a playoff position. It will also be the Penguins’ first game under new GM Ron Hextall and President of Hockey Operations, Brian Burke. For the second consecutive game, but five days apart, the Penguins are in Long Island for a date with the New York Islanders (5-4-2).
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is shortening goalie Tristan Jarry’s leash. DeSmith will make his fifth start. DeSmith hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s been steady with a 3-1-0 record, an .885 save percentage, and a 2.85 goals against average.
New York head coach Barry Trotz will counter with Semyon Varlamov in the net. Varlamov is 5-2-1 with an impressive 1.93 GAA and a .932 save percentage.
On Thursday morning, the Penguins activated Zach Aston-Reese from the IR. Aston-Reese has been skating with Teddy Blueger and Brandon Tanev in practice. The trio formed the Penguins shutdown line last season.
“They’re a real conscientious line defensively for us. They can play against anyone,” Sullivan said.
However, Sullivan declined to say if Evgeni Malkin would be available for the game. Sullivan termed Malkin, who left practice early on Wednesday with an eye irritation, as a game-time decision. However, Malkin did participate in the optional Penguins morning skate, according to New York Hockey Now.
The Penguins are 3-1-3 in their last seven games against New York but lost in regulation last Saturday, 4-3 in regulation. Anders Lee scored a late power-play goal for the game-winner. New York is undefeated (3-0-0) at home this season.
The Penguins dominated puck possession and scoring chances in that game. The Penguins had 58.5% of the scoring chances, according to NaturalStatTrick.com
The highlight from last Saturday was Penguins rookie defenseman P-O Joseph’s first NHL goal (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Jason Zucker|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Evan Rodrigues|
|Radim Zohorna||Mark Jankowski||Colton Sceviour|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Leo Komarov||Mathew Barzal||Jordan Eberle|
|Anthony Beauvillier||Brock Nelson||Josh Bailey|
|Kieffer Bellows||J-G Pageau||Oliver Wahlstrom|
|Matt Martin||Casey Czikas||Cal Clutterbuck|
|Adam Pelech||Ryan Pulock|
|Nick Leddy||Scott Mayfield|
|Thomas Hickey||Andy Greene|
The Penguins power play was a focal point in practice this week. It has been one of the worst in the NHL with just five goals but two shorthanded goals against.
Review the PHN breakdown of the Penguins power play scheme and struggles (PHN+)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||(28 for 125) 22.4% 10th NHL||(99 for 128) 77.3% 22nd NHL|
|Buffalo Sabres||(22 for 107) 20.6% 14th NHL||(87 for 111) 78.4% 20th NHL|
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes and Injuries
Position, Player (Consecutive Games Missed, Total Games Missed)
F Zach Aston-Reese (11 consecutive, 11 total)
D Zach Trotman (11 consecutive, 11 total)
F Sam Miletic (11 consecutive, 11 total)
D Marcus Pettersson (7 consecutive, 7 total)
D Juuso Riikola (7 consecutive, 7 total)
F Evan Rodrigues (5 consecutive, 5 total)
D Brian Dumoulin (4 consecutive, 4 total)
2020-21 Total Regular-Season Man-Games Lost: 65
*Lou Lamoriello is one win shy of 1,300 as an NHL general manager. He would become the third in NHL history to reach the milestone (D. Poile – 1,420 &G. Sather – 1,319).
*Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz have 2,149 combined wins, the most by any general manager/head coach duo in NHL history
*Mathew Barzal has 12 points (4g, 8a) in 11 games and points on 12 of the team’s 25 goals, including nine of 18 at even strength. Barzal holds a six-game assist streak – only C. McDavid (8), M. Marner (8), and C. McAvoy (7) have longer active streaks.
*Jake Guentzel picked up a goal and an assist last Saturday against New York, marking the 50th multi-point effort in his career. 19.7% of his NHL games have included multiple points (50/254)
*Through 11 games, the Penguins have been awarded zero power-play opportunities in a game twice. The last time Pittsburgh had three games with zero power-play opportunities was in the 82-game 2016-17 campaign (3 games with no power-play opportunities).
*Evgeni Malkin is one game-winning goal from tying Mario Lemieux (74) for second place on the team’s all-time game-winning goals list
*Penguins Taxi Squad:
F – Anthony Angello
F – Frederick Gaudreau D – Kevin Czuczman
G – Alex D’Orio
G – Maxime Lagace
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TV: AT&T SportsNet
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