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Game Preview, Pittsburgh Penguins @ Calgary Flames 11/29/2021: Lines, how to watch

Tell ‘er that Alberta says hello! Tonight it’s the Penguins and the Flames up in Cal-gary

Pittsburgh Penguins v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

Stats

From hockeydb:

—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

FORWARDS

Johnny Gaudreau - Elias Lindholm - Matthew Tkachuk

Blake Coleman - Mikael Backlund - Andrew Mangiapane

Dillon Dube - Sean Monahan -Tyler Pitlick

Milan Lucic - Brad Richardson - Trevor Lewis

DEFENSEMEN

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).

And now for the Pens..

Saturday Game Lines

Forwards

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

Defense

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.

Milestone watch

  • 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).