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Penguins vs. Blues: Game 25 Lines, Notes & How to Watch

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, St. Louis Blues

The Pittsburgh Penguins (12-8-4) have points in two straight games, 10 of 12, and are in the first wild-card spot. Their 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday was one of the most impressive as the team searches for consistency and dials in the game that fits their roster. They’ll host the St. Louis Blues (11-12-0), who also suffered an extended losing streak in November before winning seven straight.

However, the Blues are again struggling. They’ve lost four of their last five.

The Penguins will most likely be without top defenseman Kris Letang, who suffered a stroke on Monday. While the Penguins have termed him out indefinitely, GM Ron Hextall said Letang wanted to return to the ice immediately. Letang was photographed at the arena during the game Thursday night in sweats.

The Penguins did get standout performances from defensemen P.O Joseph and Marcus Pettersson on Thursday. Each was bold with the puck and moved aggressively.

Jake Guentzel, Brock McGinn, Rickard Rakell, and Kasperi Kapanen lit the lamp for the Penguins. It was Kapanen’s second game since mid-November. He was a healthy scratch for a couple of weeks prior. Danton Heinen has been the Penguins’ scratch in the last two games.

Tristan Jarry has been stellar over his last five games. He’s stopped 164 of his last 172 shots, which is a .953 save percentage and is 4-0-1.

Jarry was the first goalie off for the Penguins.

The Blues have received exciting but inconsistent goaltending from Jordan Binnington this season. His season save percentage has dipped to .899, and on Thursday night, he tried to body-check Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal in the Blues’ 6-4 loss to Carolina.

The body check attempt went about as you would expect.

Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby has continued his standout season. He has 32 points (12-20-32), leads the NHL with 27 even-strength points, and Hart Trophy talk has begun to circulate.

The struggling Penguins power play underwent another tweak. Bryan Rust moved to PP2 and in a move for which fans have clamored, Rickard Rakell was on the top power-play unit.

Jeff Petry remains at the point with Rakell, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Jake Guentzel, too.

UPDATED Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

Guentzel-Crosby-Rakell

Zucker-Malkin-Rust

McGinn-Carter-Kapanen

Poehling-Blueger-Archibald

Defense:

Pettersson-Petry

Dumoulin-Rutta

Joseph-Ruhwedel

Goalie

Tristan Jarry

Expected St. Louis Blues Lines, per PuckPedia.com:

Buchnevich-Thomas-Tarasenko

Saad-O’Reilly-Leivo

Barbashev-Schenn-Kyrou

Neighbours-Accarai-Bortuzzo

Defense:

Leddy-Parayko

Krug-Faulk

Rosen-Mikkola

Goalie: 

Jordan Binnington

Special Teams:

Penguins Power Play: 13-78, 16.7%, 28th

Penguins Penalty Kill: 15-75, 80%, 10th

Blues Power Play: 15-62, 24.2%, 11th

Blues Penalty Kill: 16-50, 68%, 30th

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

*Bryan Rust led the Penguins last year against the Blues with three points (2-1-3) in two games. In his career, he has eight points (3-5-8) against the Blues in eight games.

*The Penguins have points in 10 of its last 12 games (8-2-2). Since this 12- game stretch began on Nov. 9, only the New Jersey Devils (19) have picked up more points than Pittsburgh (18)

*Jarry has three career games versus St. Louis, going 3-0-0 with a 0.80 goals-against average and one shutout.

*Brock McGinn notched a goal and an assist on Thursday. He has 10 points (6-4-10) over his last 15 games.

*In 10 home games this season, Jake Guentzel has five multi-point games.

*The Penguins are 9-1-2 with the line of Guentzel-Crosby-Rakell together.

How to Watch:

TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X

Penguins Bets:

Bet against Dan and make money. We split the bets on Thursday when the Penguins didn’t get the empty netter, but we got the over.

St. Louis is in a bad spot, and an Eastern Conference opponent on the road probably isn’t their best elixir, especially with how well the Penguins are playing. For our betting dollar, we’re going to take the Penguins on the Puckline (+150), and we like the Over (-110).

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.