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Fleury Tribute Night, Penguins Game 48 vs. Wild: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Minnesota Wild

The Pittsburgh Penguins need to get on a roll, and up next is a quick two-games-in-two-nights trip beginning Friday against the Minnesota Wild.

The Penguins (23-17-7) sit five points out of a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. They can hope to recapture the formula that led to a 3-0 win Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets – a couple power-play goals, solid two-way play and good goaltending.

The Wild (22-23-5) also are five points out of a playoff spot in the West.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 8 p.m.

Penguins Preview

While they need to keep their eyes on the prize, the Penguins also could take a little time pregame to appreciate former long-time Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Minnesota is holding a special night for him to celebrate his reaching 1,000 career games – quite a feat for a goalie. He also recently moved into second place all-time in the NHL in wins.

This could be the final time the Penguins face Fleury, who has not committed to playing beyond this season.

But the Penguins can’t let nostalgia overshadow the importance of grabbing every possible point if they hope to get into the postsesason. They have won two games in row following a three-game losing streak (0-2-1).

They will be playing without fourth-line center Noel Acciari, who is not traveling to Minnesota and Winnipeg after being diagnosed with a concussion following a hit that knocked him out of Tuesday’s game.

Coach Mike Sullivan said the team is still mulling how it will reconfigure the forward lines, but it could mean that Jeff Carter will move from right wing to center on the fourth line.

Second-line center Evgeni Malkin missed Thursday’s practice because of a maintenance day, but there was no indication that he would miss this game.

Read more:

Anderson: Will This Be Penguins’ Last Chance to Honor—and Score on—Fleury?

Molinari: Sullivan Weighs Options to Replace Acciari on Penguins’ Fourth Line

It’s unknown whether or how much the Wild might be inspired by the Fleury celebration.

Minnesota has come on some lately. After losing eight of nine (1-7-1) in late December/early January, the Wild is 5-3-0 over its past nine, including a 2-1 win over Chicago on Wednesday.

The Wild offense hasn’t been on fire – the team has scored two goals in three games in a row.

Expected Penguins Lines

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Drew O’Connor

Rickard Rakell-Lars Eller-Jesse Puljujarvi

Jansen Harkins-Colin White-Jeff Carter

Defense

Marcus Pettersson-Kris Letang

Ryan Graves-Erik Karlsson

P.O Joseph/John Ludvig-Chad Ruhwedel

Goalies

Alex Nedeljkovic

Tristan Jarry

Expected Wild Lines

Kirill Kaprizov-Ryan Hartman-Mats Zuccarello

Marcus Johansson-Joel Eriksson Ek-Matt Boldy

Marcus Foligno-Marco Rossi-Frederick Gaudreau

Brandon Duhaime-Jacob Lucchini-Vinni Lettieri

Defense

Jon Merrill-Brock Faber

Jake Middleton-Dakota Mermis

Alex Golisogski-Zach Bogosian

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury

Filip Gustavsson

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 14.1%, 30th

Penguins penalty killing: 81.4%, 10th

Wild power play: 20.5%, 17th

Wild penalty killing: 73.8%, 30th

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins topped the Wild 4-3 at home Dec. 18. They are 9-0-1 in their past 10 games Minnesota.

Sidney Crosby has 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 23 career games against the Wild. He has one goal on 12 shots in five career games against goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Evgeni Malkin has 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 19 career games against Minnesota. He has two goals on 14 shots in five career games against Fleury.

Erik Karlsson has 34 points (9 goals, 25 assists) in 28 career games against the Wild.

Kris Letang has 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 21 career games against Minnesota.

Crosby has 577 career goals and will pass Mark Recchi for sole possession of 21st place all-time in the NHL with his next goal.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio: 105.9 FM The X

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