VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-1) had an eye-opening beginning to their western road trip. After winning four of their first five games and scoring six goals in each win, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames knocked them down a few rungs in successive losses. The Penguins reset began at practice on Thursday, while the Vancouver Canucks (1-5-2) earned their first win Thursday by beating the Seattle Kraken.
The Penguins have lost two in a row and been outscored by a Texas-sized 10-4.
After a 3-1 lead against Edmonton, which crested early in the second period, the Penguins have been outscored 9-1.
Expect more simplistic and smart hockey from the Penguins on Friday. Coach Mike Sullivan specifically worked on breakouts and “chip-and-chase” moments in the Penguins’ practice.
Jake Guentzel practiced in a non-contact jersey. Jason Zucker was absent. Typically, Penguins players participate in a full practice before returning to the lineup, but Guentzel may be an exception. Expect him to be a game-time decision.
There have been few highlights this week, but Sam Poulin making his NHL debut was one. Poulin will get a sweater on Friday if Guentzel is unable to return.
Sidney Crosby is ninth in NHL scoring with 11 points (4-7-11). Tristan Jarry is likely the Penguins starter,
Thursday evening, the Canucks acquired Jack Studnicka from the Boston Bruins. The Canucks defeated the Seattle Kraken for their first win of the season, 5-4, at Climate Pledge Arena. Ilya Mikheyev scored two, and Thatcher Demko stopped 27 of 30 shots.
Vancouver has a league-worst 60% penalty kill. They have already allowed 10 power-play goals in just 25 chances.
The PHN+ Penguins notebook from Vancouver also has a few interesting stories from the Penguins’ locker room.
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|
Vancouver Canucks Lines, per Puckpedia.com:
Miller – Horvat – Garland
Kuzmenko – Petterssson – Mikheyev
Podkolzin – Aman – Joshua
Pearson – Dries – Hoglander
Ekman-Larsson — Myers
Rathbone – Burroughs
Brisebois – Schenn
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||24.1% (7-29, 11th)||72% (7-25, 28th)|
|Vancouver Canucks||22.2% (6-27, 17th)||60% (10-25, 32nd)|
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
*Last season, the Penguins went 2-0-0 against the Canucks and outscored them 8-2. Special teams played a large factor. The Penguins’ power play was 3-for-10 (30%), and the penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4 (100%).
*The Penguins are 8-3-1 overall in their last 12 games versus the Canucks.
*Sidney Crosby has 19 points (9-10-19) in 19 career games against the Canucks, including points in eight of his last 10 games versus them.
*Crosby’s goal on Monday in Edmonton moved him into a tie with Hall-of-Famer Adam Oates for 18th place on the NHL’s all-time points list (1420). He trails Bryan Trottier by five points for 17th place.
*Crosby (899) currently sits one assist away from becoming the 20th player in NHL history to record 900 career assists. Tonight’s game will mark Crosby’s 1,116th career game, and he is on pace to become the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to record 900 career assists.
*J.T. Miller leads the Vancouver Canucks in career points vs. the Penguins. He has 16 points (8-8-16) in 23 games.
The Penguins are a surprisingly big play to cover against Vancouver, which played last night. The Penguins are a +155 to cover 1.5. It looks very tempting to us.
Vancouver, on the second of back-to-backs, is already at a disadvantage. Factor the emotional release of their first win and their still-disheveled game with not as much depth as the Penguins, and it’s a good bet.
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