Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (10-7-4, 24 points, 5th place Metropolitan division) @ Calgary Flames (12-4-5, 29 points, 2nd place Western division)
When: 9:00 p.m. eastern (boooooo)
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet locally in Pittsburgh, SN1 and TVAS for the away broadcast, ESPN+
Opponent Track: The Flames are really similar to the Pens as of late. Where Pittsburgh just had a 5-0-0 streak broken on Saturday night, Calgary saw a four game winning streak and 5-0-1 stretch broken with a 4-2 loss at home to Winnipeg on Saturday night.
Pens path ahead: The Pens go to Edmonton on Wednesday night and then get two days off in a row for the first time since Nov 7+8 when they are off on Thursday and Friday. The trip then continues over to Vancouver on Saturday and the Pens will see the expansion Seattle Kraken for the first time next Monday, December 6th. After that, the boys come back east, but stay on the road to finish out their road trip in DC against the Caps on Friday December 10th.
Season Series: Calgary took round one with a 4-0 win in Pittsburgh back on October 28th. Jacob Markstrom stood on his head and made 45 saves in that game, where the Pens were pretty short-handed with no Crosby, Carter, Rust or Letang available for that game. This will be the final PIT/CGY game of 2021-22.
Random fact: The Penguins are 3-1-3 against Western Conference opponents this season (a 105 point pace over a full season). The lone regulation loss, however, came at the hands of Calgary.
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Matchsticks and Gasoline for all the Flames news you can get out there.
—Team health has been good with 15/18 skaters playing in at least 20 of the 21 games so far this season for the Flames.
—Goaltending has been awesome too, Markstrom’s five shutouts are the most in the league. Similar to Jarry, Markstrom had a stretch of three shutouts in four games. Markstrom has given up two or fewer goals in 10 of his last 14 appearances, which is really a wonder why his 8-4-4 record isn’t better.
—The Flames have been one of the most impressive and balanced teams in the whole NHL this season. They don’t have a ton of weak spots, and one big difference with Pittsburgh is along with having a great PK, Calgary has one of the top power plays around too. Add in league-best goaltending to keep the puck out of the net and it paints a really rosy picture right now for the Flames.
Sunday Practice Lines
Johnny Gaudreau - Elias Lindholm - Matthew Tkachuk
Blake Coleman - Mikael Backlund - Andrew Mangiapane
Dillon Dube - Sean Monahan -Tyler Pitlick
Milan Lucic - Brad Richardson - Trevor Lewis
Noah Hanifin / Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington / Christoper Tanev
Nikita Zadorov / Erik Gudbranson
Possible Starting Goalie: Jacob Markstrom (Daniel Vladar backup)
Scratches: Adam Ruzicka, Juuso Valimaki, Mark Stone
IR: Brett Richie
—The Flames top line were on the ice together for 216 minutes this season before they saw a goal against go in the net last week. Both of Calgary’s goals on Saturday against Winnipeg came from this line (though Lindholm scored on a power play).
Reese Johnson's goal was the first goal against at five-on-five for the Gaudreau-Lindholm-Tkachuk line.— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) November 24, 2021
20 games into the season.
And now for the Pens..
Saturday Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Evan Rodrigues
Jason Zucker - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brock McGinn
Danton Heinen - Brian Boyle - Dominik Simon
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Mike Matheson / Chad Ruhwedel
Probable Starting Goalie: Tristan Jarry
Scratches: Sam Lafferty, Mark Friedman, Drew O’Connor
IR: Evgeni Malkin (knee), Bryan Rust
—Bad news on the Rust front, he was placed on the IR and O’Connor was called back up from the AHL. Rust suffered an injury falling down in warmups on Friday night and didn’t play in either game over the weekend. Going on IR means Rust is out for at least the new two games, though it’s possible, if not likely, he will not be on the Western road trip at all and be in-line to miss four more games.
It’s Western Swing and Waltzes, in
Saskatchewan Alberta tonight
Road trips to Western Canada have typically been very successful for the Pens in recent times. From Pens PR:
Tonight’s game signals the beginning of the team’s annual trip through Western Canada, as they’ll take on Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver over the next six days. Two years ago, Pittsburgh went a 2-1-0, as they defeated the Flames on December 17, 2019 (4-1 W), the Oilers on December 20, 2019 (5-2 W) and fell to the Canucks on December 21, 2019 (4-1). The 2019 Western Canada trip was highlighted by Evgeni Malkin’s 400th career goal in Calgary, and Mike Sullivan’s 500th game as an NHL head coach in Vancouver.
Pittsburgh has historically fared well on its Western Canada swing. Over the last 10 seasons that they’ve made the trip dating back to the 2007-08 season, they’ve gone 21-5-4 which includes a 8-2-2 record over the last four visits.
- Dominik Simon is one game away from 200 in his career
- Sidney Crosby is four points away from tying Mike Gartner for 32nd all-time in career points (1,335).