Connect with us


Then There Were Two; Penguins Game 81 vs. Predators: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins

It’s the the final home game of the regular season Monday for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they host the Nashville Predators. Or will it be the final home game of the spring?

With just two games remaining – there is one on the road Wednesday against the New York Islanders – the Penguins (37-31-12) can’t fully control whether they make the playoffs. They can only win and hope the few teams ahead of them falter.

The Predators (47-29-5) have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference and will be closing out their regular season.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

Perhaps it was unrealistic to expect the Penguins to close the regular season with a 13-game point streak. Their 7-0-3 run was impressive as it lifted them from the nether regions of the East into a wildcard spot.

But a 6-4 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday left the Penguins needing help to get into the postseason.

Washington, which holds the second wildcard in the East, Detroit and Philadelphia all have 87 points, one more than the Penguins. All have two games left, except the Flyers, who only have one.

The Red Wings and Capitals also play on Monday, but not against each other.

Other than the overwhelming need for a win, the most intriguing question about Monday’s game no doubt is the starting goaltender for the Penguins. It will be Alex Nedeljkovic.

Nedeljkovic has started the past 11 straight games. When it was 3-1 Saturday, he was relieved by Tristan Jarry, who saw his first game action since March 24.

Nedeljkovic said after Saturday’s game that he was not fatigued, and coach Mike Sullivan said he made the switch primarily to try to give his team a jolt.

Read more:

Kingerski: Why Sullivan Pulled Nedeljkovic; Ned Faces the Heat

Molinari: No Time to Fret; Trying to Defy History

Nashville is coming off a 6-4 win Saturday against Columbus, and the Predators expressed some dissatisfaction with their level of play against the lowly Blue Jackets.

Defenseman Roman Josi, who had two goals and two assists that game, noted that games such as that with nothing really on the line “aren’t always easy.”

The Predators have playoff preparation to consider, of course, but coach Andrew Burnette bluntly said that “to get emotionally invested in these games is hard for our group.”

An opening for the Penguins, perhaps?

Expected Penguins lines

Drew O’Connor-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Michael Bunting-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell

Reilly Smith-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen

Radim Zohorna-Jeff Carter-Emil Bemstrom


P.O Joseph-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson

Ryan Shea-Jack St. Ivany


Alex Nedeljkovic

Tristan Jarry

Expected Predators Lines

Filip Forsberg-Ryan O’Reilly-Gustav Nyquist

Mark Jankowski-Colton Sissons-Jason Zucker

Anthony Beauvillier-Tommy Novak-Luke Evangelista

Cole Smith-Michael McCarron-Kiefer Sherwood


Ryan McDonagh-Roman Josi

Spencer Stastney-Luke Schenn

Jeremy Lauzon-Alexandre Carrier


Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 14.5%, 31st

Penguins penalty kill: 81.2%, 9th

Predators power play: 21.6%, 15th

Predators penalty kill: 77.0%, 22nd

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins lost 3-2 in overtime Nov. 28 in Nashville.

In the teams’ past 12 games, the Penguins are 8-2-2.

Sidney Crosby has 26 points (7 goals, 19 assists) in 22 career games against the Predators.

Evgeni Malkin has 21 points (7 goals, 14 assists) in 19 career games against Nashville.

Sidney Crosby has 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) in the past 11 games.

Michael Bunting has 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) in 19 games since he joined the Penguins at the trade deadline.

Bryan Rust is one assist shy of 200 for his career.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio: 105.9 FM The X

Also follow sister site Nashville Hockey Now