clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview: the Penguins meet Matt Cullen and the Minnesota Wild

Kicking off a road trip in Minnesota and checking in with former team dad

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins are kicking off a Canadian road trip for the coming week, starting with visiting the Minnesota Wild tonight.

Minnesota Wild (3-3-2) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-1)

When: Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Puck drop: 8:08 PM Eastern, AT&T Sportsnet, 105.9 The X

Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota

Why: Presumably because the Penguins do have to play everyone regardless of whether they have any notable people on the roster or not.

SBN Blog: Hockey Wilderness

Expected lines (from game Thursday)

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Conor Sheary

Bryan Rust - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel

Carl Hagelin - Riley Sheahan - Patric Hornqvist

Tom Kuhnhackl -Greg McKegg - Ryan Reaves

Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang

Olli Maatta / Chad Ruhwedel

Ian Cole / Zach Trotman

The only question becomes: do the Pens use Matt Murray, who is in the zone and playing well for this game? Or do they save Murray for Sunday night’s dreaded back-end of the back-to-back and let Casey DeSmith get his first career start at least in front of a healthy team.

Last time out: The Wild defeated the NY Islanders 6-4 on Thursday night.

Lines: (per Left Wing Lock)

A few years ago against the Wild, Evgeni Malkin did this:

Olli Maatta almost died against the Wild in what might have been the same game.

Zach Parise is on the shelf for a while after having back surgery.

The Wild have a bunch of dudes on their roster. That’s it. Everyone on their roster is a guy that makes you go “huh. he plays in Minnesota. cool.”

Other than Matt Cullen. Cullen made choice this summer to relocate his family back to their home of Minnesota. So far this season he has just 1 assist and no goals back with the Wild. Next week he turns 41 years old. So now the question no one wants to hear (let alone answer) must be asked- is Cullen finally at the end of his rope for being a contributing NHL player?

Battle of the power plays?

The Wild have a solid power play so far, clipping 8th best in the NHL at a 24.0% rate so far. They don’t really have a good triggerman or any one player to shutdown- four players have PPG, but none more than 2 and ten different players have at least a PPP. That might make for more difficulty since there’s no one set play or player to crack down on.

Oh, and Minny scored 2 short-handed goals last game out, so the Pens better be mindful of them trying to jump and turn defense to offense while Pittsburgh is up a man.

As usual, our plea here for the Pens to stay out of the penalty box. Let’s see if they listen.

Go Pens.