Here’s what the Pittsburgh Penguins don’t want in their game Monday against the visiting Seattle Kraken: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The past two games in a row, the Penguins got off to slow starts and came back to tie it in the final minute, only to lose in overtime.
And while that gave them a point against teams with better records, Vancouver and Carolina, the Penguins (20-15-6) need to start picking up two points regularly.
Seattle (19-14-9) has just one more point than the Penguins, but the Kraken come in red hot — a franchise-record nine wins in a row following a 7-4 victory Saturday at Columbus, and a 13-game point streak (11-0-2).
The game starts a little after 1 p.m. This is a change from the original evening start. The time was moved to avoid a conflict with the rescheduled Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game.
The Penguins move into the second half of their season with this game, and they do so on the wrong side of the playoff cutoff.
They are 9-3-3 in their past 15 games and just two points out of a wildcard spot in the crowded Eastern Conference, but it will likely take some strong stretches of games to secure a postseason spot.
Besides the slow starts lately, two things are plaguing the Penguins. They are 1-5 in games decided in overtime despite seemingly having the personnel to thrive in those situations.
And their power play seems to have regressed to its earlier struggles. The Penguins were 0-for-4 with a man-advantage Saturday against Carolina, are 0-for-8 over their past two games, and are in an 0-for-13 drought – again despite seemingly having the personnel to thrive in that situation.
While the Penguins can expect to be without injured left winger Reilly Smith, fourth-line center Noel Acciari practiced Sunday after being a late injury scratch Saturday against Carolina.
The Penguins on Sunday made a change on defense, flipping Ryan Graves from the third pairing to the second alongside Erik Karlsson, and moving P.O Joseph down to the spot Graves had held next to Chad Ruhwedel.
Molinari: Sullivan Digging Graves, Bumps Him Back Up to No. 2 Pairing
Kingerski: Something Has to Give Between Erik Karlsson, Penguins
Seattle showed a little bit of a human side in Saturday’s win at Columbus. The Kraken had to erase three one-goal deficits and allowed more than three goals for the first time in nine games.
But they also scored four straight goals in the third and reached seven goals for the fourth time, tied for most in the NHL.
In the win against the Blue Jackets, former Penguins forward Jared McCann and Yanni Gourde each reached the 300-point career mark. The Kraken also feature former Penguins Brandon Tanev, Brian Dumoulin, Justin Schultz and Jamie Oleksiak.
Seattle, with a win Monday, would tie a franchise record with its seventh straight road win.
Forwards Andre Burakovsky and Matty Beniers left Saturday’s game because of unspecified injuries. Their status is unclear.
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust
Radim Zohorna-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen
Jansen Harkins-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Marcus Pettersson-Kris Letang
Ryan Graves-Erik Karlsson
P.O Joseph-Chad Ruhwedel
Expected Kraken Lines
Tomas Tatar-Matty Beniers-Jordan Eberle
Jaden Schwartz-Alex Wennberg-Brandon Tanev
Eeli Tolvanen-Yanni Gourde-Oliver Bjorkstrand
Tye Kartye-Jared McCann-Andre Burakovsky
Vince Dunn-Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak-Will Borgen
Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 13.9%, 26th
Penguins penalty kill: 82.4%, 10th
Kraken power play: 21.2%, 16th
Kraken penalty kill: 80.5%, 12th
Penguins Game Notes
The Penguins are 1-2-1 all-time against Seattle, 0-1-1 at home.
The Penguins are 9-4-2 against Western Conference teams this season.
The Penguins are 6-2-2 in their past 10 home games.
Among eligible players, Jeff Carter ranks third in the NHL in faceoff proficiency (62.9%), and Sidney Crosby ranks eighth (59.7%).
Jake Guentzel has 45 shots over the past eight games.
Marcus Pettersson’s plus-minus of plus-21 ranks first on the team, 10th in the league.
Erik Karlsson has a six-game point streak (1 goal, 6 assists).
Sidney Crosby has 574 career goals, three shy of tying Mark Recchi for 21st in NHL history.
How to Watch
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 FM The X