What will a coach do when the top three LHD are injured, a generation talent center is scuffling, and it has been two weeks since the bottom six forwards chipped in on offense? Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-1) head coach Mike Sullivan will have his hands full, yet the Penguins have points in five straight games as they’ll visit the Boston Bruins (4-1-1) Thursday night at the TD Garden.
The Penguins have trailed during the third period in every game this season.
The patchwork #8 reference has a few levels. It will be the Penguins’ eighth game this season, and the lineup will be without top-pair defenseman, No. 8 Brian Dumoulin, who is out week-to-week, per Sullivan.
Dumoulin is the fourth LHD out of the lineup, and the Penguins have only one left-handed defenseman, P-O Joseph. Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson, Mike Matheson, and Juuso Riikola are out.
The Penguins lineup situation is unconfirmed without an official and full morning skate. Tristan Jarry has started three games in a row and earned points in all three (2-2-1. 3.90 GAA, .868 Sv%). Boston coach Bruce Cassidey will start Jaroslav Halak in the net.
Cassidy gave starter Tuukka Rask the day off. Dan Vladar will be the backup.
Injuries also hurt the Boston lineup (see what I did there?). David Pastrnak is still recovering from offseason surgery, and power forward Jake DeBrusk is also out. Craig Smith, who scored the game-winner on Tuesday, will be on the top line with Patric Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
The Penguins’ furious two-goal rally fell short on Tuesday, and Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang failed to get a shot on goal during a two-on-none in overtime. Boston beat the Penguins 3-2 in OT. But here’s the turning point that sparked the Penguins comeback (PHN)
Pittsburgh Penguins Catchup
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford abruptly resigned on Wednesday. It caught interim GM Patrik Allvin and head coach Mike Sullivan by surprise (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Analyzing five early GM candidates and favorites (PHN+)
F Zach Aston-Reese (7 consecutive, 7 total)
D Zach Trotman (7 consecutive, 7 total)
F Sam Miletic (7 consecutive, 7 total)
D Mike Matheson (5 consecutive, 5 total)
D Marcus Pettersson (3 consecutive, 3 total)
D Juuso Riikola (3 consecutive, 3 total)
F Evan Rodrigues (1 consecutive, 1 total)
*Brian Dumoulin is out week-to-week.
2020-21 Total Regular-Season Man-Games Lost: 33
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Evan Rodrigues||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brock McGinn|
|Jason Zucker||Drew O'Connor||Danton Heinen|
|Sam Lafferty||Brian Boyle||Dominik Simon|
|Brian Dumoulin||Mark Friedman|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Mike Matheson||Chad Ruhwedel|
Boston Bruins Lines
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Taylor Hall||David Krejci||Craig Smith|
|Nick Ritchie||Sean Kuraly||Charlie Coyle|
|Trent Frederic||Curtis Lazar||Chris Wagner|
|Matt Grzelczyk||Charlie McAvoy|
|Mike Reilly||Kevan Miller|
|Jeremy Lauzon||Steve Kampher|
Penguins Betting Odds
We should have doubled on Tuesday. We took the Penguins on the Moneyline, but six squandered power plays and wasted OT opportunities soured our pick.
Get up to a $500 match when you register a new account (BetMGM)
The Penguins’ makeshift defense is a huge problem. They could go one period without Brian Dumoulin, but replacing him has been one of the most difficult things the Penguins have faced over the last two seasons.
If you’re averse to betting against the Penguins, take the over. At least one backup goalie will be in net, and we should see six goals or more. Take the OVER, and $10 pays $19.52.
Our record this year is 3-3
Penguins Game Notes:
*Sidney Crosby has 56 points (14G-42A) in 43 career games against the Bruins, which includes 16 points (3g, 13a) in his last 13 games
*With a goal and an assist on Tuesday, Jason Zucker notched his first multi-point game of the season and his fourth in 22 games since the Penguins acquired him on Feb. 10, 2020.
*On Wednesday, the Penguins signed defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year, two-way contract. Weber will not be available on Thursday night because he was caught in a snowstorm, per head coach Mike Sullivan.
*Without Brian Dumoulin in the lineup, it is likely that Kevin Czuczman will make his first NHL appearance since 2013.
*Bryan Rust has points in five of seven games this season (2g, 3a). He failed to score in the first game and the last game.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 105.9 The X