Saturday is the Pittsburgh suburbs observation of Trick or Treating, but it’s the Penguins fans who are in store for post-Halloween goodies, no costume required. The Penguins should have a full bench as they face the Edmonton Oilers (9-4-1) at PPG Paints Arena, Saturday afternoon. After the last few games which featured a trickle feed of players returning from injury, the big Russian has returned. Evgeni Malkin will make his return from the IR after exiting the Penguins’ second game of the season. Malkin’s return marks the first time this season Mike Sullivan has a full roster of NHL players to pen his lineup card, and it’s could not come in preparation for a better game. Edmonton looks like they have figured things out and are poised to make some noise in the Western Conference this year.
Leading the charge for them has been their captain Connor McDavid.
Saturday is also the battle of generational talent as Sidney Crosby takes on McDavid in the seventh head-to-head matchup of their careers. Although McDavid has the edge in points, 10 to six, Crosby and the Penguins are a perfect 6-0-0 dating back to their first matchup on November 8, 2016. Last season, Crosby scored a sensational overtime goal in Edmonton on October 23, 2018, to cement his status in the unofficial rivalry.
The Penguins turn to Matt Murray for their goaltending needs against Edmonton. Murray remains especially good at home, compiling a 5-2-0 record in seven starts. He’s allowed two or fewer goals in five of those appearances. Edmonton counters with journeyman Mike Smith. The 14-year goalie is in his first season in Edmonton and has enjoyed success with a 2.29 goals against and a .919 save percentage.
The Penguins scared, shocked, and overall frightened Philadelphia on Wednesday. While it was costume party in the stands, on the ice, it was an “Elliot-Ville Horror” as the Penguins won 7-1 with notable efforts by the “Doms.” Dominik Kahun and Dominik Simon each tallied three points in the win while 12 different Penguins skaters scored at least a point. The Penguins kicked off the opening period with Justin Schultz’s first goal of the year to spur a four-goal frame. The Penguins “superweapon” recharged in the second as they only managed two goals while blanking Philadelphia through two periods. Jake Guentzel (7) knocked home a loose puck while Zach Aston-Reese (3) deflected a shot for the Penguins’ sixth goal.
The Penguins traded goals in the third with Philadelphia to round out the scoring in the game. Oskar Lindblom (6) continued his hot start with an early snipe while Kahun scorched a one-timer with seven seconds left. Matt Murray started for the Penguins and stopped 29 of 30 shots for his seventh win. Brian Elliott started, suffered the loss, and made 22 saves but exited before the third period. Carter Hart stopped eight of nine shots in relief.
Edmonton blitzed Columbus 4-1 to conclude their three-game losing streak, Wednesday. Leon Draisaitl scored two goals and an assist for Edmonton in the win and extended his scoring streak to four games in the process. James Neal (11) and Jujhar Khaira (1) scored the other two goals. Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski (3) tallied a late second-period goal to cut into the four-goal deficit, but Columbus was not able to capitalize on it in the third. Mike Smith earned the win with a 23 save effort while Elvis Merzlikins shot all 15 shots he faced in relief of Joonas Korpisalo.
A few scouts here:
NYR (local scout)
Winnipeg (Dir. of Scouting)
San Jose (Colletti again)
Of note, the continued San Jose peaking, and Ottawa, too.
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) November 2, 2019
Last season, three players finished with a team-best three points in two games against Edmonton. Sidney Crosby (2G-1A), Matt Cullen (3A), and Patric Hornqvist (2G-1A) all enjoyed notable efforts.
Alex Galchenyuk has four points (2G-2A) in his last three games, and 11 points (6G-5A) in 14 career games, versus Edmonton. Galchenyuk returned to Penguins game action against Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Despite his three-point effort in his previous game, Dominik Kahun is projected to press box duty with Evgeni Malkin’s return. Kahun has elevated his game of late, but here at PHN, we feel it’s the right call.
Kyle Brodziak (Back)
Adam Larsson (Leg)
Joakim Nygard (Ribs)
Josh Archibald (Foot)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||14.5% (24th NHL)||89.1% (2nd NHL)|
|New York Islanders||23.5% (9th NHL)||84.6% (7th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Dominik Kahun||Jared McCann||Brandon Tanev|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Joseph Blandisi||Dominik Simon|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Sam Lafferty|
|Brian Dumoulin||John Marino|
|Marcus Pettersson||Justin Schultz|
|Jack Johnson||Juuso Riikola|