Well, that didn’t take long. It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins (0-1-0) coaches will make a change on the blue line. Kris Letang admitted what the power play must specifically do to get better and Teddy Blueger admitted the faceoff dot is hugely important when the Penguins face the Philadelphia Flyers (1-0-0) tonight at 7 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Center.
The Penguins lost the opener of the two-game set on Wednesday evening, 6-3. Philadelphia scored three unanswered goals in the third period and scored on two of three power-play chances.
New defenseman Mike Matheson did some good things but was negatively involved in the first three Philadelphia goals. Get the full Penguins Report Card here.
Head coach Mike Sullivan put the team’s support behind Matheson without absolving him from a rough game.
“Our coaching staff is committed to trying to help Mike through some of these processes,” Sullivan said Wednesday night. “This game is not an easy game. It’s not for the faint of heart. You’ve got to make sure you dust yourself off and get back in the fight.”
Goalies Tristan Jarry was hardly a culprit in the loss but wasn’t sharp, either. He stopped 19 of 25 shots. Sullivan didn’t flinch on his new starting goalie and will go back to Jarry Friday night.
Carter Hart will start for Philadelphia. Hart stopped 29 of 32 shots for the win on Wednesday.
The Penguins were otherwise crushed on the faceoff dot (42%). Mark Jankowski was 2 for 7, and Teddy Blueger was 2 for 5.
“(Faceoffs) are huge, especially in the offensive and defensive zones,” Blueger said in response to PHN’s question. “Possession; obviously, a lot of goals are scored that way. We didn’t do a good enough job on that in the last game.”
Sidney Crosby has played 71 games against the Philadelphia Flyers. He has 106 points, including his highlight pick and swat goal on Wednesday night.
Chad Ruhwedel skated with Mike Matheson during the morning skate. The Penguins had an unscheduled day off on Thursday.
Spot Analysis: Matheson isn’t ready for top-four minutes, and the coaches must be leery of placing Matheson with fellow newbie Cody Ceci. Ruhwedel is steady and reliable in short bursts, so this pair makes a good bit of sense in the short term.
The Penguins’ power was 1-for-3, but only because Crosby intercepted a Hart clearing attempt and poked it into the net. Otherwise, the Penguins’ power play was not impressive.
“I would say the entries and the movement around the zone (need to improve),” Kris Letang said. “There are new breakouts, new guys in different spots … the execution in the first game wasn’t good.”
Philadelphia defenseman Erik Gustafsson had a pair of first-period power-play assists.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jared McCann||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Sam Lafferty||Mark Jankowski||Anthony Angello|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||John Marino|
|Marcus Pettersson||Cody Ceci|
Philadelphia Flyers Lines
|James Van Riemsdyk||Sean Couturier||Jakub Voracek|
|Scott Laughton||Kevin Hayes||Travis Konecny|
|Oskar Lindblom||Claude Giroux||Nicolas Aube-Kubel|
|Connor Bunnaman||Nolan Patrick||Michael Raffl|
|Ivan Provorov||Shayne Gostisbehere|
|Travis Sanheim||Justin Braun|
|Robert Hagg||Erik Gustafsson|
Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Odds
Just in case you’d like to drop a few beans tonight, use our friends at MGM. They’re offering up to a $500 match. CLICK HERE to get the deal.
PHN is 1-0 this season after we recommended the OVER on Wednesday night. The Penguins betting odds over/under is 6.5 on Friday night. We like the UNDER. The Penguins will button-up tonight, and IF the Penguins insert Chad Ruhwedel, that will help. Jarry should be better, too.
The Penguins betting line puts them as a 1.5 goal underdog (-200). We like that bet but aren’t confident enough to fully recommend it.
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