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Crosby at 499, Game 48: Penguins Lines, Notes & How to Watch vs. Senators

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Ottawa Senators

There will not be many fans in the stands due to Ontario gathering restrictions, so one of the greatest players in the game’s history might score a milestone goal in front of hundreds of people. Is there anything more symbolic of the COVID world? Sidney Crosby could score his 500th career goal when the Pittsburgh Penguins (28-11-8) visit the Ottawa Senators (16-22-4) at the Canadian Tire Centre, Thursday night.

The puck drops just after 7 p.m.

The Penguins snapped a four-game winless streak in their return to the second half of the season on Tuesday in Boston. The Penguins yielded 45 shots to the Boston Bruins, but goalie Tristan Jarry maintained his All-Star form. And Jarry weathered a little attack from Brad Marchand, who not only swatted a puck off his stick as Jarry tried to give the puck to a fan but sucker-punched him late in the third period and jabbed his stick into Jarry’s mask as officials escorted him off this ice.

The Penguins won 4-2.

Ottawa could be a reunion. Two-time Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray will start for Ottawa. The Penguins honored Murray with a  tribute video last month despite him not being in uniform.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said center Evgeni Malkin tested out of COVID protocol. However, he will be unavailable to play in Ottawa. Malkin could play Sunday.

Sullivan will start Casey DeSmith in net. DeSmith was solid in his last start, stopping 30 of 32 but lost in a shootout to the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2 on Jan. 28.

The Penguins have not played their best game in some time. They snapped the winless streak in Boston, but the Bruins dictated play and outchanced the Penguins by nearly a 2-1 ratio. It’s time to see the aggressive, attacking team that reeled off 10-straight wins over December and January.

Ottawa is a scrappy, young team that gets up for games against top opponents. Ottawa rallied and forced the Penguins to break a sweat on Jan. 20. The Penguins had a 5-1 lead in the second period but hung on for a 6-4 win.

Ottawa is a fun team with some grit and attitude. Unfortunately, the game will be a throwback to last season as only 500 fans are allowed in the building (Yell at Trudeau, not me).

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust
Rickard RakellEvgeni MalkinKasperi Kapanen
Jason ZuckerJeff CarterDanton Heinen
Brock McGinnTeddy BluegerEvan Rodrigues
LDRD
Mike MathesonKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Mark FriedmanChad Ruhwedel
Goalie
Tristan Jarry
Louis Domingue

Ottawa Senators Lines: 

Tkachuk-Stutzle-Gaudette

Formenton-Paul-Brown

Tierney-Kastalik-Ennis

Sanford-Gambrell-Watson

Defence:

Chabot-Zaitsev

Holden-Zub

Brannstrom-Brown

Goalie:

Matt Murray

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:

*The Penguins are 21-3-1 when scoring first.

*Ottawa is 7-5-2 in 2022.

*The Penguins PK has “slumped” to 87%, second in the NHL. The power play has swelled to 22.1%, 11th in the NHL.

*Ottawa is mid-pack in special teams. The PK is 80.1%, 13th in the NHL, while the power play is 17.7%, 22nd.

*PENGUINS INJURIES: F Drew O’Connor, upper-body (10 consecutive, 13 total). Jason Zucker, lower-body (9 consecutive, 16 total). G Louis Domingue, lower-body (9 consecutive, 9 total). Teddy Blueger, upper-body (6 consecutive, 7 total. Evgeni Malkin, COVID-19 (1 consecutive, 35 total).

*The Penguins have points in 21 of their last 25 games against the Senators (17-4-4) dating back to Jan. 27, 2013.

*The Penguins enter tonight’s game with wins in four-straight road games, tied with Colorado and Dallas for the longest active road win streaks in the league.

*With the Penguins, Murray accumulated a 117-53-19 record with a .914 save percentage, 2.67 goals-against average, and 11 shutouts in the regular season. His 117 wins are the third-most in franchise history.

*Oddball stat:  Danton Heinen has eight points (5G-3A) over his last seven road games. Overall, nine of his 11 goals have come on the road this season.

How to Watch:

TV: AT&T Sportsnet; Radio: 105.9 The X)

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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