The Pittsburgh Penguins (30-11-8) have won three in a row and are rebuilding their game after a few tiring weeks of sloppy hockey leading into the NHL All-Star Game. Sidney Crosby remains at 499 career goals, and there seems no better place than PPG Paints Arena and no better opponent than the Philadelphia Flyers to get No. 500.
Perhaps the numerology of goal 500 in game 50 will spur Crosby.
The Flyers (15-25-8) have gone sideways, then south this season. What started as a promise to restore the team to playoff viability has become a natural disaster on Broad Street. They fired their coach, hired Mike Yeo as the interim, and the free-fall has continued. NHL trade rumors are swirling around Claude Giroux.
Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now cited sources confirming Giroux specified the Colorado Avalanche as his preferred destination.
Even our colleague, Sam Carchidi of Philly Hockey Now, agrees that seeing Crosby score goal 500 against the Flyers would be fitting. Crosby will be the second active player (Alex Ovechkin) and the 46th player in NHL history to record 500 career regular-season goals. He would also join Mario Lemieux (690) as the only players in Penguins history to score 500 goals.
The Penguins’ second line is a different matter. While the Crosby line has been involved in about 40% of the team’s offense, Evgeni Malkin is rounding into form. Howethey’renger Kasperi Kapanen is struggling, and things are intensifying.
The game marks the first home game for the Penguins since the All-Star break and a chance to win their fourth in a row against a hated rival, who will likely forget they’re headed for a lottery pick.
The Penguins starting goalie will be Casey DeSmith, likely against Carter Hart. After a pair of solid starts, including a shutout last Thursday over Ottawa, DeSmith raised his save percentage to .901 and lowered his GAA to 3.03. Hart has been shelled to a .911 save percentage and 2.89 GAA.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Rickard Rakell|
|Danton Heinen||Ryan Poehling||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Brock McGinn||Sam Poulin||Drew O'Connor|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|P.O Joseph||Jan Rutta|
Expected Philadelphia Flyers Lines, Per PhillyHockeyNow.com:
Line: Giroux centering Oskar Lindblom and Cam Atkinson.
Line 2: Scott Laughton centering James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny.
Line 3: Morgan Frost centering Max Willman and Gerry Mayhew.
Line 4: Connor Bunnaman centering Isaac Ratcliffe and Zack MacEwen.
Defense: Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun; Travis Sanheim and Nick Seeler; Keith Yandle and Kevin Connauton.
Goalie: Carter Hart
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*In 78 career games, Crosby has 49 goals, 68 assists, and 117 points.
INJURIES: F Drew O’Connor, upper-body (12 consecutive, 15 total) F Jason Zucker, lower-body (11 consecutive, 18 total) G Louis Domingue, lower-body (11 consecutive, 11 total) F Teddy Blueger, upper-body (8 consecutive, 9 total) 2021-22 Total Regular-Season Man-Games Lost: 182
*Jake Guentzel has 22 points (8-14-22) in 21 career regular-season games against the Flyers. Guentzel has 35 points (14-21-35) in 27 games if you include postseason games.
*Guentzel has a six-game point streak (3-7-10). It is the third-longest active streak in the NHL.
*Since Jan. 15, no NHL player has more points than Sidney Crosby, who has 20 points (8-12-20) in 13 games.
*Bryan Rust has a five-game goal and point streak (7-2-9). His five-game goal streak is a career-high.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T Sportsnet; Radio: 105.9 The X