The Pittsburgh Penguins, after four off days between games, get back into things Saturday by facing the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights on the road.
The Penguins (21-15-6) are 10-3-3 in their past 16 games as they make a push to get into a firm playoff position and are taking on a team in the Golden Knights (26-14-5) that is talented but dealing with significant injuries.
The game starts a little after 10 p.m.
The Penguins are 2-0-2 in their past four games, most recently topping the Seattle Kraken 3-0 on Monday.
This is the second and final meeting between the clubs. The Penguins won at home 3-0 against Vegas on Nov. 19.
It’s a broken record that it’s a broken power play for the Penguins. They are 0-for-10 with a man-advantage over their past three games. Before that, they had one power-play goal in each of four games in a row, but it has been more than a month since they have netted more than one in a game.
The Penguins will be without left winger Reilly Smith, who is on the road trip but not expected to play as he deals with what the club calls a longer-term injury. Smith, who has struggled to produce, might have gotten a boost from playing against Vegas – he helped them win the Cup last spring.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson missed Friday’s practice because of illness, but there is no indication that it is something that will keep him out of Saturday’s game.
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Vegas has won two in a row, over Nashville and the New York Rangers, by a combined 9-2.
But the Golden Knights are 5-8 over their past 13 games, and they are dealing with several injuries.
Most prominently, center Jack Eichel will miss his fourth straight game after having surgery for an undisclosed problem. He led the team in scoring when he got hurt.
Also hurt are forwards William Karlsson and William Carter, defensemen Shea Theodore, Ben Hutton and Tobias Bjornfot, and goaltender Adin Hill – although Hill is getting close to a return.
Mark Stone has a four-game point streak (3 goals, 4 assists).
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust
Collin White-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen
Jansen Harkins-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Marcus Pettersson-Kris Letang
Ryan Graves-Erik Karlsson
P.O Joseph-Chad Ruhwedel
Expected Golden Knights Lines
Ivan Barbeshev-Nicolas Roy-Jonathan Marchessault
Pavel Dorofeyev-Chandler Stephenson-Mark Stone
Brendan Brisson-Byron Froese-Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez-Alex Pietrangelo
Nicolas Hague-Zach Whitecloud
Brayden McNabb-Kaesen Korcazak
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 13.7%, 29th
Penguins penalty kill: 82.7%, 7th
Golden Knights power play: 20.9%, 18th
Golden Knights penalty kill: 79.9%, 15th
Penguins Game Notes
The Penguins are 7-4-0 all-time against Vegas, 5-1-0 in their past six games against the Golden Knights.
Jake Guentzel has 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 10 career games against the Golden Knights.
Evgeni Malkin has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 10 career games against the Golden Knights.
Erik Karlsson has a seven-game point streak (1 goal, 7 assists).
Sidney Crosby is tied for the NHL lead with 575 faceoff wins.
Ryan Graves has been plus-3 over his past five games.
Marcus Pettersson leads the team and ranks eighth in the NHL at plus-21.
Sidney Crosby has 576 career goals, one shy of tying Mark Recchi for 21st all-time in the NHL.
Kris Letang is one point shy of hitting 30 points for the 16th time in his career.
How to Watch
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 FM The X
Also visit sister site Vegas Hockey Now