Penguins vs. Kings, Game 52: Lines, Notes & How to Watch
LOS ANGELES — The Pittsburgh Penguins will get a little extra rest before their game against Los Angeles at Crypto.com Arena this evening.
That’s because the starting time of the game, officially listed as 10:38 p.m. Eastern, actually will be pushed back a half-hour because of a ceremony honoring former Kings captain Dustin Brown, who is getting a statue outside the arena and his number retired.
The Penguins, though, probably wouldn’t object to getting the game started as soon as possible, considering how things have gone for them since the NHL’s all-star break.
They overcame a sluggish start to defeat Colorado, 2-1, in overtime Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena, then had their way with Anaheim Friday night in a game that wasn’t as competitive as the 6-3 final score might suggest.
The Penguins rang up 59 shots on goal — a franchise road record and the second-most in a game by any NHL team this season — and only some stellar goaltending by Anaheim’s John Gibson prevented them from reaching double-digits in goals.
“I thought it was a pretty dominant performance,” Mike Sullivan said. “I thought we had the puck an awful lot. I thought we generated a numerous amount of scoring chances. We’ve been trying to encourage our guys to put more pucks on the net and create some offense that way, and I thought we did that.
“We generated a lot of shots. We were able to create opportunities off the shot. I’ve always been a big believer that a shot on goal breaks coverage down better than most things out there and I thought our guys did a really good job in that regard.”
For the second game in a row, the Penguins will be going against one of the NHL’s least efficient penalty-kills; the Kings rank 27th in the league, although it’s worth pointing out that Los Angeles has scored three shorthanded goals since Jan. 1.
The Penguins converted one of four power plays against Anaheim — Kasperi Kapanen got the goal when his shot eluded Gibson after hitting the stick of Ducks defenseman Simon Benoit — giving them at least one man-advantage goal in seven of the past 12 games.
They generated 10 shots on goal during their four chances with the extra man despite being without Kris Letang, who mans the left point on the No. 1 unit and missed the Ducks game because of illness.
Beating the Ducks allowed the Penguins to hurdle Washington and take over fourth place in the Metropolitan Division. They also have two games-in-hand on the Capitals, who trail them by a point.
The Penguins called off their game-day skate, which is the norm when they play on consecutive days, and Sullivan is scheduled to meet with reporters about two hours before the opening faceoff, at which time he is expected to identify his starting goaltender and update Letang’s status.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Expected Los Angeles Kings Lines
Penguins power play: 40 for 177, 22.6%, 15th
Penguins penalty-kill: 31 for 165, 81.2%, 10th
Kings power play: 43 for 179, 24%, 9th
Kings penalty-kill: 46 for 178, 74.2%, 27th
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
Sidney Crosby, who has five goals and 14 assists in 19 career games against Los Angeles, enters the game with a nine-game points streak.
The Penguins have lost their past three games (and five of their past six) at Crypto.com, previously known as Staples Center.
Jake Guentzel has scored 11 of his 21 goals in 19 games against Western Conference opponents.
Evgeni Malkin has the most career game-winning goals (4) against the Kings of any active Eastern Conference player.
The Penguins have both scored and allowed 56 goals in the third period this season.
The Kings own almost identical home and away records, going 14-9-2 at Crypto.com Arena and 14-9-5 on the road. They will be playing at Crypto.com Arena for the first time since a 4-0 loss to Dallas Jan. 19.
Los Angeles winger Viktor Arvidsson, who will appear in his 500th NHL game tonight, has six goals in 13 career games against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Kings are 16-3-7 in games decided by one goal.
Los Angeles is just 1-6-2 against Metropolitan teams, including a 6-2 loss in Pittsburgh Oct. 20.
Brown will be the fourth man associated with the Kings to get a statue outside Crypto.com Arena, joining Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille and Hall of Fame play-by-play man Bob Miller.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 105.9 the X