The Pittsburgh Penguins (12-7-4) receive a booster shot when they host the Calgary Flames (11-12-3) at PPG Paint Arena, Monday. Injured defenseman Kris Letang will return from the IR after missing the previous eight games. Letang rejoins a defense corp that has held their own since his departure and helped the Penguins secure points in 10 of their last 12 games; six of their last eight home games. Calgary seeks a rare win against the Penguins as they are 3-11-3 in their last 17 games against them but did split the two games series last season. The Penguins also have points in five of their last six games versus Calgary.
The game will also mark the figurative beginning of the Penguins goalie battle as head coach Mike Sullivan will put Tristan Jarry in net. Jarry is 3-3-0 but has a spectacular .945 save percentage and 1.81 goals against average. It will be the first time this season Jarry has played in a game which isn’t part of back-to-backs, and the first time he will start two consecutive games.
Calgary will deploy David Rittich in net. Rittich is in his first full year as Calgary’s starter and holds a 5-3-1 record with a 2.72 GAA in his last nine starts.
The Penguins treated their home fans to a complete team effort in a 4-1 win against New Jersey, Friday. After back to back OT losses to the New York Islanders, the Penguins took care of business in regulation with a steady diet of secondary scoring. The Penguins opened the scoring in the game at 7:51 into the first period when the “Dominiks” connected. After Dominik Simon dug the puck out of a wall scrum, he sent a pass below the goal line to the waiting stick of Dominik Kahun. The Left-handed Kahun cut to the net and skated around a sprawling defender to notch his sixth of the year.
New Jersey exited the first intermission with purpose and didn’t waste any time to tie. Struggling Taylor Hall (3) took a pass from Nico Hischier and wristed a shot that rung off the post and into the net to tie the game at one. The goal gave New Jersey momentum and sustained pressure in the Penguins offensive zone majority of the period. The Penguins finally broke the embargo with a sharp breakout that yielded a goal to snatch the lead back. Evgeni Malkin sprung Jake Guentzel on a breakaway, who cut to his backhand and lifted a shot into the net. The Penguins didn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way.
The Penguins capped off the scoring in the third with a pair of goals 25 seconds apart. Jared McCann’s (8) wrist shot found the top shelf while John Marino blasted a slap shot past two Devils and into the net to ice the cake for the Penguins. Marino led all defenders and tied all skaters for the lead in shots for the game. Tristan Jarry clocked out with another huge night of 36 saves while New Jersey’s MacKenzie Blackwood could not replicate his previous week’s success against the Penguins while stopping 32 of 36 shots.
Calgary rallied late and used a Matthew Tkachuk shootout goal to ground Philadelphia 3-2 in the final showdown. Jakub Vorachek (5) opened the scoring while Kevin Hayes added his sixth goal of the year. Calgary’s Andrew Mangiapane (5) scored and Elias Lindholm (11) one-timed a goal to send the teams to OT with less than two minutes left. Carter Hart started for Philadelphia and made 25 saves including two shorthanded. David Rittich earned win for Calgary stopping 36 of 38 shots and all three shooters in the shootout.
With injuries to top defensemen Kris Letang and Justin Schultz, rookie John Marino has stepped up while skating on the Penguins’ top defensive pairing with Brian Dumoulin. Marino scored his second goal of the season on Friday, marking his eighth point of the season. His goal extended his point streak to four games, a new career-high.
The Penguins have collected points in eight of 10 games against Western Conference opponents this season, going 7-2-1. Their seven wins against the West ranks second among all Eastern Conference teams, trailing only the Washington who has played four more games against the West than the Penguins.
With five points over his last four games, Penguins’ winger Dominik Kahun is starting to heat up. Through his 22nd Penguins game, Kahun is tied for sixth in team scoring with 12 points. 10 of Kahun’s 12 points have come in the last 11 games. Olli Maatta has seven points on the season for Chicago.
Scouts in attendance
Edmonton (regional scout)
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) November 25, 2019
Kris Letang (Lower-Body, Week to Week)
Sidney Crosby (Core Muscle, 6+ Weeks)
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, 6+ weeks)
Justin Schultz (Longer-Term)
TJ Brodie (Undisclosed)
Austin Czarnik (Upper body)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jason Zucker||Frederick Gaudreau||Evan Rodrigues|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|