The Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday at PPG Paints Arena. It is the Penguins’ fourth preseason, and the first time the Penguins regulars will hit the ice, as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and most of the NHL forwards will be in the lineup. The puck drops just after 7 p.m.
A few Penguins hopefuls have asserted themselves during training camp and the preseason. Notably, Radim Zohorna and Alex Nylander were kept in the NHL group at practice, and Nylander will get a big chance on Thursday.
Nylander, 25, will skate on the second line with Evgeni Malkin. The prime position will put a big spotlight on Nylander and his battle to claim one of the 12 or 13 roster spots.
“We’ve got to find some options in our top six, and we’ll explore some different options. Alex Nylander got an opportunity to play with (Malkin) and Reilly Smith (Wednesday). You know, Alex is a talented kid. He’s got real good offensive instincts,” coach Mike Sullivan said.
After the morning skate, Sullivan noted that Tristan Jarry would start and play the entire game. The Penguins have eight defensemen on the eligible roster Thursday, but Sullivan said Mark Friedman and P.O Joseph will be scratched. Chad Ruhwedel and Ryan Shea, who is on a two-way contract, will be the third pair.
The game will also feature the Penguins’ top pairings: Ryan Graves-Kris Letang and Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson.
10 DREW O’CONNOR
11 ALEX NYLANDER
17 BRYAN RUST
19 REILLY SMITH
20 LARS ELLER
25 AUSTIN WAGNER
55 NOEL ACCIARI
63 RADIM ZOHORNA
67 RICKARD RAKELL
71 EVGENI MALKIN
77 JEFF CARTER
83 MATT NIETO
87 SIDNEY CROSBY
2 CHAD RUHWEDEL
5 RYAN SHEA
27 RYAN GRAVES
28 MARCUS PETTERSSON
52 MARK FRIEDMAN
58 KRIS LETANG
65 ERIK KARLSSON
73 P.O JOSEPH
35 TRISTAN JARRY
39 ALEX NEDELJKOVIC
Expected Penguins Lines:
Defense pairings (three will play):
Penguins Game Notes:
Last season, the Penguins picked up points in two of three games (2-1-0) and averaged 3.33 goals per game. In three games against the Sabres in 2022-23, Evgeni Malkin led all Penguins in scoring with five assists.
The Penguins power play units were assembled for the first time at practice Wednesday. Erik Karlsson and Kris Letang will be on PP1 with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Bryan Rust.
Alex Nylander and P.O Joseph were at the points on PP2.
How to Watch the Penguins Game:
The game will air on KDKA+, which is the former Pittsburgh CW network (Over the Air channel 19). You can find it on your cable provider here.
Steve Mears and color analyst Phil Bourque will simulcast the game, which can also be heard on the Penguins’ flagship radio station, 105.9 The X. The game will also be streamed on the Penguins website.