Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (11-8-5, 27 points, 4th place Metropolitan division) @ Seattle Kraken (9-13-2, 20 points, 7th place Pacific division)
When: 10:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet locally in Pittsburgh, Root Sports Northwest for the away broadcast, ESPN+
Opponent Track: The Kraken won 4-3 at home against Edmonton on Friday in their last game. Overall the new team has slowly been gaining traction. In November, Seattle started the month 1-7-0 but had a turning point on Nov 21 when they defeated the Washington Capitals 5-2. Including that game, the Kraken are 5-1-1 in the last seven with wins over teams like Carolina, Florida and the aforementioned Caps.
Pens path ahead: Finally the last late night game for a while for the Pens, who return back east after tonight. Pittsburgh gets a few days off and play after tonight next on Friday in Washington, DC. Then the Pens will have to get back to town quickly, they will play Saturday at home for the first time in a while against Anaheim.
Season Series: The Kraken make their first ever trip to Pittsburgh for a game on Thursday, Jan 27th.
Random fact: Pittsburgh has points in nine of 12 road games this season (6-3-3), including points in six of the last seven contests away from PPG Paints Arena (5-1-1). The team’s .625 points percentage on the road is tied for 7th in the NHL. (h/t Penguins PR)
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Davey Jones Lockerroom for the newest SBN Hockey blog around.
—The good players have been pretty good this season for Seattle. Jaden Schwartz has 13 points in the last 13 games (5G+8A).
—Yanne Gourde has six points (1G+5A) in the last two weeks, six games. Ryan Donato has 3G+1A in his last five games, Jared McCann has 3G+1A in his last six games.
—Goaltending may be in the process of turning around, the glaring weakness in Seattle’s first month was shoddy netminding. Philipp Grubauer still remains the worst ranking starting goalie in the league in terms of goals saved above average.
Low event expansion team
The Vegas Golden Knights were so flashy and skilled, right from the very beginning. That might have clouded the expectations or set an unreasonable bar for the next expansion team to follow. Seattle has not tried to follow it, they have stayed true to being a low event team that suppresses a lot defensively to make up for the fact they don’t have a ton of high-end skilled players to create goals. The Kraken are bottom five in xGF, but make up for it by being top five in xGA.
Team 5v5 xGoals Against (Team Defence) per 60 - December 4 pic.twitter.com/3sZoMBNfcI— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) December 4, 2021
As such, it’s not surprising but they are one of the league’s more dull teams at 5v5.
xGoals For vs. xGoals Against (5v5) - December 4— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) December 4, 2021
- #Flames, #LetsGoPens, #GoBolts good at both ends
- #VegasBorn, #NJDevils chaotic
- #SeaKraken, #GoStars low event
- #Blackhawks, #Yotes, #BringittoBroad struggling pic.twitter.com/MD7l1ZzYC9
Sunday Practice Lines
Marcus Johansson - Alex Wennberg - Mason Appleton
Ryan Donato - Yanni Gourde - Jordan Eberle
Jared McCann - Morgan Geekie - Brandon Tanev
Colin Blackwell - Riley Sheahan - Joonas Donskoi
Jaden Schwartz - Calle Jarnkrok - Kole Lind
Vince Dunn / Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak / Carson Soucy
Haydyn Fleury / Will Borgen
Possible Starting Goalie: Philipp Grubauer (Joey Daccord backup)
Scratches: Jeremy Lauzon, Schwartz*, Lind
COVID Protocol: Mark Giordano
IR: Chris Dreidger, Jarnkrok
—*Schwartz was out early for practice, officially his game status (and Jarnkrok’s) are still up in the air as of this morning, but it doesn’t look like they will be ready in time to play tonight. The Kraken will have Eberle available, which was in question until he practiced yesterday on a normal line.
And now for the Pens..
Sunday Practice Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Evan Rodrigues
Jason Zucker - Jeff Carter - Danton Heinen
Brock McGinn - Teddy Blueger - Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese - Drew O’Connor - Dominik Simon
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Mike Matheson / Chad Ruhwedel
Possible Starting Goalie: Casey DeSmith (update after morning skate, it’s DeSmith tonight)
Scratches: Sam Lafferty, Mark Friedman, Brian Boyle
IR: Evgeni Malkin (knee), Bryan Rust (undisclosed lower body injury)
—It was the same lines yesterday at practice for the Penguins after their big win on Saturday night. As expected, Mike Sullivan isn’t going to change up a winning formula.
Meeting the new guys
The Pens have done well in first time meetings with brand new franchises. From the team’s PR department:
The Seattle Kraken became the 11th expansion team added by the NHL since 1991, growing the league to 32 teams. Since the San Jose Sharks joined the league as the 22nd franchise in 1991-92 (with Mike Sullivan in their lineup), the Penguins have gone 8-2 in their first meeting against an expansion foe.
Pens’ 1st Game vs. Expansion Teams Since 1991
Year Team Score Date Location
1991-92 San Jose Sharks 8-0, W Dec. 5, 1991 San Jose
1992-93 Ottawa Senators 7-2, W Oct. 27, 1992 Ottawa
1992-93 Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4, W Nov. 1, 1992 Tampa Bay
1993-94 Florida Panthers 2-1, W Oct. 12, 1993 Florida
1993-94 Anaheim Ducks 5-4, W Nov. 7, 1993 Anaheim
1998-99 Nashville Predators *3-2, W Feb. 13, 1999 Nashville
1999-00 **Atlanta Thrashers 4-1, W Jan. 27, 2000 Pittsburgh
2000-01 Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2, W Oct. 21, 2000 Pittsburgh
2000-01 Minnesota Wild 4-2, L Feb. 11, 2001 Minnesota
2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights 2-1, L Dec. 4, 2017 Vegas
Crosby in the Emerald City
Tonight will mark the 44th NHL venue played in for Sidney Crosby. The Pens’ PR team worked up the following stats and figures on this subject:
Tonight, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins visit Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle for the first time in franchise history. The Pittsburgh captain, who enters tonight’s game riding a four-game point streak (1G-5A), is looking to play an NHL game in his 44th venue. Of those venues, four of them have been outdoor rinks (Heinz Field, Lincoln Financial Field, Ralph Wilson Stadium and Soldier Field), and he has scored a goal in 37 of the 43 venues he’s played in.
Below is a look at Crosby’s highest scoring rinks he’s played at:
Rink GP G A PTS
PPG Paints Arena 336 164 293 457
Mellon Arena 184 101 181 282
Wells Fargo Center 36 22 30 52
Nassau Coliseum 28 14 28 42
Madison Square Garden 38 15 25 40
Of the six venues Crosby has played in but yet to score, two of them are football stadiums, one of them is in Europe, and one of them opened two and a half weeks ago. The venues are American Airlines Arena (9GP), United Center (6GP), Globe Arena in Sweden (2GP), Ralph Wilson Stadium (1GP), Soldier Field (1GP) and UBS Arena (1GP).
- Brian Dumoulin is one point away from 100 in his career
- Kris Letang is two points away from 600 in his career
- After passing Mike Gartner in career points on Saturday night, Sidney Crosby now sits two points behind both Dave Andreychuk and Denis Savard, who are in a tie for 30th place all-time.