The Pittsburgh Penguins were recently an unbeaten team with four wins and an OT loss. Today, they are a .500 team struggling to make sense of a near-disastrous and winless western swing. The Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus but then lost each of the four western games (Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Seattle). Now, they’re 4-4-1 and will face the team with the best record in the NHL, the Boston Bruins (8-1-0).
The puck drops just after 8 p.m. because the game is on ESPN.
The Penguins lost to the Seattle Kraken, 3-1, on Saturday.
The Penguins might face Boston without top defenseman Kris Letang, who is sick. Letang missed practice on Monday and did not participate in the optional skate on Tuesday morning. He is a game-time decision, according to coach Mike Sullivan.
Forward Jeff Carter is out of the lineup with a lower-body injury. Sam Poulin or Drew O’Connor will take his spot. Poulin has been the third-line center over the last three games, but the Penguins recalled O’Connor on Monday. O’Connor centered the third line in drills, but Poulin took the net front spot on PP2.
Boston is on a five-game winning streak, having rolled through Columbus, Detroit, Dallas, Minnesota, and Anaheim. Boston outscored those five teams 18-6.
“The aging and seemingly fading Boston Bruins core, along with a cast of upstart youth, have exceeded the expectations of many and stormed out to their best start ever,” Boston Hockey Now beat writer Jimmy Murphy told PHN. “With a deep forward group, a blue line that’s stepped up in Charlie McAvoy’s absence, and a brilliant start from Linus Ullmark, the Bruins come to Pittsburgh looking to roll through November like they did October.”
Tristan Jarry will start in goal for the Penguins. Jarry is 4-2-0 with a .923 save percentage. Linus Ullmark is expected to start for the Bruins. Ullmark is 6-0-0 with a 1.70 GAA and a .945 save percentage.
It will also be interesting if coach Mike Sullivan keeps Jeff Petry and Marcus Pettersson together if Letang cannot play or if Petry would play with Brian Dumoulin.
The Penguins’ top pairing with Dumoulin and Letang has struggled. Just one of the Penguins’ problems.
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|
Bruins Lines, per Boston Hockey Now:
Penguins Power Play: 8-35, 22.9%, 18th NHL
Penguins Penalty Kill: 9-31, 71%, 28th NHL
Bruins Power Play: 8-34, 23.5%, 13th NHL
Bruins Penalty Kill: 2-33, 93.9%, 2nd NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*In the last 11 home games versus the Bruins, dating back to Dec. 14, 2016, the Penguins are 9-2-0, outscoring them 39 to 23.
*Jake Guentzel led the team with five points (3-2-5) against Boston and a plus-4 in three.
*Sidney Crosby has 66 points (17-49-66) in 53 career games against the Bruins, which includes 26 points (6-20-26) over his last 23 games. No active player in the NHL has more points against Boston than Crosby (Alex Ovechkin, 57 points).
*Rickard Rakell has 13 points (6-7-13) in 13 games played against the Bruins, which includes four multi-point games.
*The Penguins have allowed two or fewer goals in seven of its last nine games against Boston.
*Mike Sullivan will coach his 517th game with the Penguins, surpassing Eddie Johnston for the most games coached in franchise history.
*Sidney Crosby needs one assist to become the 20th player in NHL history to record 900 assists. He would be the sixth fastest to reach the milestone.
How to Watch:
TV: ESPN, ESPN+, TVAS; Radio: 105.9 The X