After a four day layoff since their last game, the Penguins return to action tonight against the defending Western Conference Champion Vegas Golden Knights at PPG Paints Arena. Tonight will mark the second time Marc-Andre Fleury returns to his old hockey home but the former Penguins netminder is not expected to play.
With Matt Murray recovering from a concussion, Casey DeSmith will get the start in goal for the Penguins who are looking to cure some major defensive woes from their first two games where they allowed a combined 11 goals.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.
Get ready for tonight’s game with this morning’s Pens Points...
With Matt Murray on the shelf for the time being, backup goalie Casey DeSmith will step into the starting role for the Penguins. A strong training camp and preseason have DeSmith full of confidence as he steps into the starting role for however long that may be. [Pensburgh]
Murray’s absence also means Tristan Jarry returns to Pittsburgh, just days after being sent down to the AHL. Coming into training camp, Jarry was the clear third option in goal for the Pens entering the season but now he will once again be thrust into the backup role until Murray returns. Given Murray’s injury history, DeSmith and Jarry could play a major role as the season moves forward. [Pensburgh]
Jarry coming up from the minors means someone needs to go down to make room on the roster. In this case the victim is newly signed forward Derek Grant who came over from the Anaheim Ducks in the offseason as a free agent. Grant will have to pass through waivers before joining WBS. [Trib Live]
In more lighthearted Matt Murray news, his dogs. You are probably already familiar with Murray’s two Newfoundland pups, Beckham and Leo, who are more like bears than actual dogs. Given their size, these dogs need to eat and eat a lot. Based on the dog’s Instagram account (yes, they have one) they are very well taken care of in the food department. [Pensburgh]
While some teams are moving towards banning video games, others are embracing the past time and using it as a bonding exercise. The Penguins have been using video games to occupy themselves on road trips for years now but with the growing popularity of games like Fortnite and PUBG, more and more players are getting in on the action. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
It is beginning to look more and more likely that rookie defenseman Juuso Riikola will be making his NHL debut this evening against the Golden Knights. At practice on Wednesday, Riikola was skating on the second pairing with Jamie Oleksiak and playing alongside Justin Schultz on the second power play unit. [Pensburgh]
Throughout his career, if there was one player Kris Letang has drawn comparison too more than any other it would be Paul Coffey. Their similar playing styles have led to a mutual respect between the two Stanley Cup champion blue liners. [Penguins]
The last time we saw Zach Aston-Reese on the ice for a meaningful game was way back in May when he took a vicious head shot from Tom Wilson that left him concussed and with broken jaw. Now beginning the season in the AHL, a return to the Penguins cannot come soon enough for ZAR. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
It has already been hinted that Marc-Andre Fleury will not be in net tonight for the Vegas Golden Knights on his second trip back to Pittsburgh since leaving. Even if he had be slated to start, the hype surrounding his return has lessened considerably. [Trib Live]
New boards were installed at PPG Paints Arena this offseason and they have a noticeable spring to them unlike the last set. They came back to bite the Pens in the first game of the year and the team is still trying to adjust to the new rink addition. [Pittsburgh Hockey Now]
News and notes from around the NHL...
The season is still young, but there are a handful of coaches on the hot seat already. Slow starts or inconsistent play early in the season could spell an early doom for a few bench bosses around the league. [Yahoo! Sports]
William Nylander remains unsigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs and there does not seem to be any end in site as both sides remain steadfast. It’s a complicated situation for both parties, but there is a case study in how this could all work out with the Tampa Bay Lightning going through a similar situation with Nikita Kucherov two years ago. [Raw Charge]
New season means some new faces around the league. Brush up on some of these young guns now so you aren’t caught off guard if they become the next big thing in the world of hockey. [The Hockey News]