When: 7:00 p.m. ET
How to Watch: On TV locally in Pittsburgh (AT&T Sportsnet) and in the Denver area on Altitude
Opponent Track: Since beating the Pens 6-3 last week, Colorado lost 3-2 in OT to St. Louis on Friday night, then defeated Detroit 2-0 on the road on Sunday- with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen (naturally) being the goal scorers. This is game 2 of a 4 game road trip and they get to play the two Florida teams after tonight, so hopefully the players’ minds are already on the beach and thinking about the sun.
Pens Refresh: Let’s just not talk about it
SBN Team Counterpart: Mile High Hockey
Player stats at a glance
—Last week the Pens were fortunate enough to see backup Phillip Grubauer - who true to season form wasn’t amazing giving up 3 goals on just 25 shots. Colorado has been off since Sunday, so they probably figure to play starter Semyon Varlamov, who has been much much better than Grubauer this season.
—Rantanen and MacKinnon remain #1 and #2 in the league in scoring.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - JT Compher - Colin Wilson
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert
Sven Andrighetto -Alexander Kerfoot - Gabriel Bourque
Sam Girard / Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov / Ian Cole
Patrik Nemeth / Mark Alt
—Not too many changes since last week, about the biggest is Compher has moved up to the second line and Kerfoot has been dropped to the 4th line. Those 2-4 lines look about the same talent-wise anyways, especially compared to all the skill and star power on the first line.
Slow down the stars
These two teams just played last week and, as advertised, Colorado’s big gun top line was a points machine. They combined for 8 points. If that happens, you probably lose. If you can hold them quiet, you probably win. That’s simple but very true. All eyes will be on Dumoulin and Letang with Pittsburgh getting last change to keep the stars as limited as possible. Scary thing is that it’s probably not very possible right now given in how much a groove those players are in.
And now for the Pens
Infographic courtesy of the Penguins:
Lines (based off Monday practice)
Jake Guentzel - - Sidney Crosby - Dominik Simon
Tanner Pearson - Evgeni Malkin - Patric Hornqvist
Zach Aston-Reese - Derick Brassard - Phil Kessel
Riley Sheahan - Derek Grant - Bryan Rust
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Olli Maatta / Juuso Riikola
Jack Johnson / Jamie Oleksiak
—We wrote about these lines a lot yesterday, which might have gotten lost in the shuffle with the trade. The Pens definitely need more than they gotten so far out of the Brassard+Kessel combo.
The Road Ahead
The Pens just finished a two day break on Sunday and Monday, and hopefully they enjoyed it because the schedule heats up a bit. They aren’t inactive 2+ days in a row again until Christmas break (December 23 -27).
Up next is a home game Thursday against the annoying (but fading) Islanders. Then Pittsburgh starts a three-game road trip that starts in Ottawa on Saturday night before stops against the Islanders on Monday and in Chicago next Wednesday.