The Pittsburgh Penguins can’t be terribly excited about having to spend another evening trying to contain Ottawa’s power play.
Not after the Senators scored four man-advantage goals in their 5-4 overtime victory over the Penguins Wednesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.
UPDATE: Jeff Petry and Tristan Jarry were activated before game time and are game-time decisions. Kris Letang was placed on LTIR retroactive to Dec. 28.
Get past that rather alarming stat, though, and there are several numbers that suggest the Penguins should welcome a rematch with Ottawa tonight at 7:08 at PPG Paints Arena.
For starters, the Penguins are 12-5-4 on home ice, while Ottawa is 8-11-2 on the road.
What’s more, it’s been a long time since the Senators left town with anything more than regrets and frustration to show for a game against the Penguins here.
The Penguins have won their past 10 home games against the Senators; their only active streak that is longer is 12 victories in a row against Columbus at PPG Paints Arena. They also are 12-0-1 in their past 13 at home versus Ottawa.
Of course, the past will have no direct impact on anything that happens this evening, and both teams figure to be desperate to earn a victory.
The Penguins are tied with the New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference and the Senators are in an even more precarious position, trailing the Penguins and Capitals by eight points.
Both teams have been sputtering in recent weeks. The Penguins are 4-7-3 in their past 14 games, while Ottawa is 2-4 in its past six.
Danton Heinen apparently will replace Kasperi Kapanen, who is listed as “week-to-week” because of an unspecified lower-body injury, at right wing on the fourth line. But regardless of who Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has in his lineup, he’s likely to stress the importance of cutting down the number of shots — and quality scoring chances — his team allows.
The Penguins have given up an average of 36.25 shots during the past four games, twice yielding 40.
One big step toward that goal would be limiting the number of chances Ottawa gets on the power play: The Senators recorded 14 of their 40 shots Wednesday during their nine chances with the extra man.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Expected Ottawa Senators Lines, per PuckPedia.com
Penguins power play: 33 for 158, 20.9%, 18th
Penguins penalty-kill: 27 for 146, 81.5%, 7th (tie)
Senators power play: 46 for 168, 27.4%, 3rd
Senators penalty-kill: 28 for 151, 81.5%, 7th (tie)
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
Sullivan said Tristan Jarry, who has not played since being injured in the Winter Classic in Boston Jan. 2, will be a “game-time decision,” as will defenseman Jeff Petry and forward Ryan Poehling.
The Penguins have allowed six power-play goals in the past two games after giving up just two in the previous six.
Jason Zucker, arguably the Penguins’ best player in recent weeks, has six goals in his past 10 games.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both have 53 career points against the Senators. Malkin has points in 10 home games in a row versus the Senators, while Crosby has a seven-game points streak against them at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins have won consecutive games only once since racking up seven victories in a row Dec. 1-15.
Penguins defenseman P.O Joseph and his brother, Ottawa winger Mathieu Joseph, are expected to face each other for the first time in the NHL tonight. Mathieu Joseph was a healthy scratch Wednesday for what Senators coach D.J. Smith characterized as “non-hockey reasons.” The Senators’ game-day skate was optional, so it is not known where Joseph would fit into their lineup.
Senators forward Claude Giroux, who does not have a goal in his past eight games, has 21 goals and 44 assists in 62 career games against the Penguins, nearly all of them while playing for Philadelphia.
Ottawa has scored two or more power-play goals 12 times in 2022-23, one more than the Senators did last season.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 105.9 the X