Hoping to build on their competitive third period against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night in their 2-1 OT win, the Pittsburgh Penguins (22-10-5) hope to find their game with the inclusion of Evgeni Malkin. There’s no longer a reunion with Marc-Andre Fleury as the Penguins face the Vegas Golden Knights (23-14-2) at T-Mobile Arena on Monday night. The pucks will drop after 10 p.m.
The Penguins have played more bad periods than good periods over the last four games but are 3-2-0 in the first five games of their six-game western road trip. Integrating Malkin has been the challenge they expected, but missing Bryan Rust, Jason Zucker, Zach Aston-Reese, and Brock McGinn didn’t help the Penguins lineup stability.
McGinn returned on Saturday. Rust and Zucker are game-time decisions in Vegas. The Penguins lineup may look like its authentic self, if not on Monday, then soon. Drew O’Connor is being evaluated for an injury, so Radim Zohorna will likely hang around for a while longer.
Update: Zucker and Rust were activated. Zohorna and Kasper Bjorkqvist were assigned to the Taxi Squad.
On Saturday, the Penguins escaped San Jose with a win. Goalie Louis Domingue made a strong case for more opportunities with a 40-save performance.
Tristan Jarry likely starts against Vegas. Last week, Jarry was named to his second All-Star Game. He has a .932 save percentage and 2.05 GAA.
Vegas will likely tab Robin Lehner in net. Lehner has not been spectacular with a 15-10-1 record, 2.91 GAA, and .905 save percentage.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Rickard Rakell||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jason Zucker||Jeff Carter||Danton Heinen|
|Brock McGinn||Teddy Blueger||Evan Rodrigues|
|Mike Matheson||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Mark Friedman||Chad Ruhwedel|
Expected Vegas Golden Knights Lines per PuckPedia.com:
Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Odds
Penguins +1.5 (-255), Vegas Golden Knights (+205)
Moneyline: Penguins (-105), Golden Knights (-115)
Penguins to score over 4.5 goals, +385
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Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*The Penguins PK is back to over 90% but is still second in the league (90.3%, 2nd). The power play remains an area that needs improvement (17.6, 22nd). Vegas is not a special teams giant. Their power play (20%, 14th), and penalty kill (78.1%, 20th) are in the middle of the league.
*Jeff Carter has nine points (7G-2A) in 16 career games against Vegas. Only five players in NHL history have more goals versus the Golden Knights than Carter’s seven – Anze Kopitar (11), Kyle Connor (9), Ryan O’Reilly (8), Matthew Tkachuk (8), Auston Matthews (8).
*Jake Guentzel is one goal shy of eclipsing a 20-goal plateau for a fifth consecutive season.
*Defenseman Kris Letang has a seven-game point streak (2-10-12).
*Guentzel, Crosby, and Rust have played just nine games together this season (Nov. 14-24; Jan. 2-6), and have accounted for 18 of the Penguins’ 36 goals in those games (50%).
*Evgeni Malkin has 74 career game-winning-goals His next game-winner will surpass Mario Lemieux for sole possession of second place on the team’s all-time game-winning goals list. Jaromir Jagr had 78.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T Sportsnet; Radio: 105.9 The X