The Pittsburgh Penguins (25-14-6) west coast trip continues tonight when the Penguins face off against the San Jose Sharks (27-13-7) at SAP Center. The Sharks own the 2nd-best home record this season (16-4-4) and have scored 89 goals which fourth most in the league.
Both teams have overcome mediocre starts to put pressure on their division leaders. San Jose is second in the Western Conference and the Pacific Division with 61 points. They trail Calgary by three points. The Penguins loss to LA on Saturday dropped them to third place behind Columbus by a single point in the packed Metro Division.
The Penguins trail the division-leading Washington Capitals by only three points but lead fourth-place New York Islanders by only two.
Matt Murray is expected to start in goal for the Penguins. Murray continues to dominate since returning from injury and hopes to extend his personal winning streak to double digits with a win.
The Penguins seek a rebound win tonight after losing to the LA Kings on Saturday, 5-2. The Penguins scored first but surrendered the next four goals as LA took advantage of a Penguins team playing in their second game of a back-to-back situation. Jake Guentzel opened the scoring for the Penguins early in the first period but it would be the Penguins only lead of the game. LA received goals from Jeff Carter (9), Anze Kopitar (12,13), Alex Lafallo (10) and Brendan Leipsic (4). The Penguins allowed their 10th shorthanded goal allowed this season which upset head coach Mike Sullivan.
Jonathan Quick started in net for LA and was a huge reason for their 18th win of the year. Quick made timely saves to preserve the lead down the stretch and stopped 38 shots. Casey DeSmith started for the Penguins and put forth an uncharacteristic soft effort allowing four goals on 24 shots. DeSmith, after a dominant December, has slipped in January, losing both his starts and allowing four goals in both games. Jake Guentzel (22,23) netted both goals for the Penguins to give him five goals and counting on the road trip. LA center Jeff Carter tallied 3 points (1 g, 2a). Carter has 30 points in his career against the Penguins.
San Jose extended their winning streak to six against Ottawa Saturday night, 4-1. It’s the longest current winning streak in the NHL. Joe Pavelski (26) broke a scoreless tie in the second period and San Jose scored three more in the third period. San Jose defenseman Brent Burns had 2 points including his 43rd assist of the year.
San Jose goalie Martin Jones allowed only one goal on 28 shots for his 21st win of the year. He has won seven straight starts.
Penguins winger Phil Kessel is eight points from 800 points in his career. Kessel is in the top 20 on the American-born all-time points list and can tie Eddie Olczyk for 18th place with a two-point effort.
Monday, the NHL announced Jake Guentzel was selected as the third star of the week. Guentzel had five goals and an assist in three games last week, including a hat trick in a 7-4 Penguins victory over Anaheim on Friday and two goals in a 5-2 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. The Penguins left wing has a seven-game scoring streak.
San Jose and the Penguins are tied in the all-time series 21-21-3, but the Penguins are 4-2 in playoffs. The Penguins won their franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup against San Jose in 2016.
Justin Schultz (Fractured Leg. IR)
Patric Hornqvist (Concussion)
Zach Aston-Reese (IR)
Joonas Donskoi ( Upper Body)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic ( Wrist)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||20.3% (16th NHL)||82.4% (7th NHL)|
|New Jersey Devils||17.7% (22nd NHL)||82.0% (10th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jason Zucker||Sidney Crosby||Conor Sheary|
|Patrick Marleau||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Evan Rodrigues||Jared McCann||Patric Hornqvist|
|Brandon Tanev||Teddy Blueger||Sam Lafferty|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Jack Johnson||Justin Schultz|