The Pittsburgh Penguins (7-5-3) snapped their five-game losing streak Saturday against the underpowered but energetic Arizona Coyotes. The Penguins will face the hobbled New Jersey Devils (6-8-1) at the Prudential Center in “beautiful” Newark, NJ.
The Devils have lost three straight and will be without 2017 top overall pick Nico Hischier and bedrock center Brian Boyle, who had a hat trick in the New Jersey beatdown of the Penguins on Nov. 5. New Jersey is currently in last place of the Metro Division.
The Penguins beat Arizona with an outstanding performance from Sidney Crosby who was on the ice for all four goals in the 4-0 shutout. Crosby double shifted with his line (Dominik Simon and Bryan Rust) and took numerous shifts with the Penguins uber talented “third line” wingers, Jake Guentzel and Phil Kessel. Each line notched goals,
Casey DeSmith (3-1-2) with a 1.89 GAA and .942 Sv percentage and will keep the net as the Penguins work with starter Matt Murray, off the ice. Head coach Mike Sullivan said the extended string of starts for DeSmith will allow Murray time to “work with (goaltending coach) Mike Buckley.” However, Murray may not be pleased with the decision. Yesterday he declined to speak with reporters, including Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Shelly Anderson.
The Penguins will also make a “big” change on defense. Jamie Oleksiak will draw in and Juuso Riikola will likely be a healthy scratch. Oleksiak has four goals this season and ranks among the NHL’s top-10 in goals scored by a defenseman. Oleksiak will skate with Olli Maatta on the Penguins second pair.
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|