The Pittsburgh Penguins welcome back their “two-time Stanley Cup Champion” with a game against the Arizona Coyotes at PPG Paints Arena on Friday. It will be Phil Kessel’s first game Pittsburgh since being traded this to Arizona in June. Kessel spent four seasons with the Penguins, where he won two Stanley Cup Championships (2016, ’17) and scored 110 goals and 303 points.
Besides Kessel, Arizona continues to be a surprise in the early season as they are first place in the Pacific Division and third overall in the Western Conference. The Penguins will receive a pair of injections into their lineup as Justin Schultz has been activated from IR and will be in the lineup, as will electric winger Bryan Rust, according to head coach Mike Sullivan.
The Penguins have won five consecutive home games against Arizona and are 7-1-0 vs. Arizona all-time at PPG Paints Arena.
Arizona will start Antti Raanta in net. Raanta’s winning streak was snapped after allowing three goals on 29 shots in a loss to the San Jose Sharks last Saturday. Tristan Jarry will again assume the front end of the back-to-back games, which is often reserved for the starting goalie.
The Penguins submitted a total team effort in a 3-0 win against St Louis, Wednesday. The victory helped end the Penguins two-game losing streak and washed away the taste of a duo of 5-2 losses over the weekend. After a four day layoff, the Penguins were quick to start. Teddy Blueger (3) redirected Marcus Pettersson’s shot from the point just 39 seconds into the game to set the early tone.
In the second period, Stefan Noesen made it 2-0 with 40 seconds left which provided a late momentum shift. Noesen redirected a shot from Jared McCann, collected the rebound and chipped the puck into a yawning cage for his first NHL goal since March 15 with the New Jersey Devils. The goal provided a nice ending for Noesen’s last three days after he signed a one-year contract at the NHL level on Monday.
The third period was a continuation of the Penguins dominance especially defensively, and a slumping Penguins forward scored the only goal. Alex Galchenyuk found the net for the just second time this year. The goal extended the lead to 3-0, but a huge assist went to Sam Lafferty who’s pass sprung Galchenyuk at the blue line. After receiving the pass, Galchenyuk held off Jay Bouwmeester and Colton Parayko to score on a wrist shot.
Tristan Jarry earned his third career shutout in the effort by stopping all 28 shots. Jarry’s effort put another chapter in the Penguins unofficial goalie debate, but don’t expect closure anytime soon. Jordan Binnington faced the Penguins for his second consecutive start but stopped only 30 shots in the loss. You can read more in Dan’s Recap and the PHN Extra Report Card.
Arizona moved into first place in the Pacific Division with a 3-1 win against Philadelphia, Thursday. It is the latest Arizona has been in first place since they won the Pacific Divison eight seasons ago. Despite poor stats against Philadelphia, Arizona received two goals from Phil Kessel (5, 6) to help lead the offense. Kessel’s goals bookended a Connor Garland marker in the third period. Matt Niskanen (3) scored the only goal for Philadelphia. Arizona starting goalie Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves for his 12th win while Brian Elliott stopped 15 of 17 shots in the loss for Philadelphia.
Teddy Blueger opened up the scoring on Wednesday with his third goal of the season just 39 seconds into the game. The goal stood as the game-winner, the second of his career. Per NHL PR, Blueger became the seventh player in Penguins history to register a game-winning goal in the opening minute of a contest and first since Stephane Richer nearly 18 years ago. His goal was the third-fastest game-winner in team history as well.
In 16 career games against Arizona, Evgeni Malkin has 21 points, with eight points in his last five games. Against Arizona, the Penguins are 10-2-0 when Malkin scores, and undefeated when he has a multi-point game. Only teammate Sidney Crosby has more points against Arizona among all current Penguins players. Crosby possesses 24 points in 18 games against Arizona.
Carolina seems to have set up a residence here.
Light night on the scouts front, but one team keeps showing up…
NYR (local scout)
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) December 6, 2019
Sidney Crosby (Core Muscle, 6+ Weeks)
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, 6+ Weeks)
Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)
Patric Hornqvist (Lower Body, Longer term)
Jack Johnson (Flu)
Niklas Hjalmarsson (Lower Body, IR)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||20.3% (16th NHL)||82.4% (7th NHL)|
|New Jersey Devils||17.7% (22nd NHL)||82.0% (10th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jason Zucker||Sidney Crosby||Conor Sheary|
|Patrick Marleau||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Evan Rodrigues||Jared McCann||Patric Hornqvist|
|Brandon Tanev||Teddy Blueger||Sam Lafferty|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Jack Johnson||Justin Schultz|