When: 7:00 p.m. ET
How to Watch: On TV locally in Pittsburgh (AT&T Sportsnet), New York area (MSG Network),
Opponent Track: Last week when the Pens and Devils met, NJD was riding a three game losing streak (to Tampa, Detroit, NYI). New Jersey looked like a million bucks against Pittsburgh, beating the Pens 5-1. Since that point, they’ve looked like $0 bucks, losing three more games (to Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg) by a combined scored of 18-6.
Pens Refresh: Won 4-0 on Saturday night against Arizona to snap a five game winning streak. Happy days are here again!
SBN Team Counterpart: All About the Jersey
Tale of the Tape
—If you’re a long time fan, it’s tough to imagine a Devils team near the tail end of the league in goals allowed, but this is reality now.
—From tracking the Pens over the year, their shooting % is falling. Was well into double digits and 1st/2nd in the league in the early weeks, they’ve been regressing back down as of late.
—NJ is not performing well at 5v5, but both of their special teams groups are top 10 right now, which always makes for a dangerous opponent, especially if the game plays out to include a lot of time with penalties.
One important note will be the status of NJ’s #1 center, Nico Hischier. From All about the Jersey:
[Hopefully] Nico Hischier [will] be available for tonight’s game, or at the very least not be hurt long-term. The Devils’ top center left the game in Winnipeg with an upper body injury. Because the Devils were traveling yesterday, there was no practice where John Hynes could give the media an update on Hischier’s injury. If he is not available for the game, I would think Pavel Zacha gets called up for today’s game. But having Hischier back with the team would be great - as it would allow the Devils to follow their model against the Penguins of having Zajac run a shutdown line while Hischier centres the top line.
As of yet, Zacha has not been called up, though that could certainly change.
After a great start, NJ is just 2-7-1 in their last ten. As mentioned above, they’ve lost 6 of their last 7 games. They have to feel good enough going into tonight knowing that win in that stretch was against these same Pens, but Pittsburgh really should buckle down here. This isn’t really a very good NJ team, they’re currently last in the conference.
Strength vs. Strength
For their bad record, NJ is 5-1-0 at home on the season. The Pens have played better on the road (4-1-2) than at home so far. Something will have to give there.
Player stats at a glance
—Pretty much looks the same as we saw last week, except Brian Boyle has three more goals since he recorded his first career hat trick against the Pens.
Lines (from their last game on Sunday)
Taylor Hall - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Marcus Johansson - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt
Blake Coleman - Brett Seney - Joey Anderson
Miles Wood - Brian Boyle - Stefan Noesen
Andy Greene / Sami Vatanen
Egor Yakovlev / Damon Severson
Will Butcher / Ben Lovejoy
—Cory Schneider got just his third start of the season against Winnipeg and promptly gave up 5 goals on 28 shots in the loss. Keith Kinkaid stopped 35/36 shots against the Pens on 11/5 but then surrendered 6 goals himself in his only other start since then against Toronto, so it’s not like he’s playing great at the moment either.
And now for the Pens
Infographic courtesy of the Penguins:
(from Monday practice)
Dominik Simon - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Carl Hagelin - Evgeni Malkin - Patric Hornqvist
Jake Guentzel - Riley Sheahan - Phil Kessel
Garrett Wilson - Matt Cullen - Zach Aston-Reese
Jack Johnson / Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin / Chad Ruhwedel
Olli Maatta / Jamie Oleksiak
Healthy scratches: Juuso Riikola, Daniel Sprong
-Nice to see Oleksiak getting back in after a healthy scratch last game.
-These lines and defensive pairings are new at least since the NJD game last week so hopefully that will spurn a fresh result
Social media post of the day
Ok, so this might be an ad for a watch company (smooth!) but the translated caption is “On a business trip”. Give ‘em the business Gene!
The road ahead
The Pens have only played one game in the last five days, but that is about to change in a major way. Starting today the team kicks off their busiest stretch of the season so far, with seven games in the next 12 days, including the year’s first back-to-back games next Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The next contest after this is home on Thursday night against the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning, followed by a one-game road trip up to Ottawa on Saturday night to meet the surprisingly strong Senators.