Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (22-15-7, 51 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division) @ Ottawa Senators (20-21-3, 43 points, 7th place Atlantic Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh in the Western PA viewing market, TSN5 and RDS up in Canada, NHL Network outside of the local areas
Opponent Track: After only scoring one total goal in their prior two games, the Senators exploded for 5 against the Penguins on Wednesday night. They found plenty of room to operate and all the power plays that they could handle.
Pens Path Ahead: One home game, one road game continues as the Penguins head out to New Jersey on Sunday before coming back to Pittsburgh to host Florida next Tuesday. Then it’s back to to the road to meet the Capitals down in DC next Thursday, January 26th and then it’s back home to play San Jose on Saturday Jan 28th. At that point the team finally gets to a well-earned All-Star break/bye week.
Season Series: This is the second PIT/OTT game of the season, following of course last game’s 5-4 Ottawa OT win two days ago. After tonight, the Senators return to Pittsburgh on Monday March 20th to close things out between the two.
Getting to know the Senators
SBN partner blog: Silver Seven Sens
Wednesday’s Game Lines
Brady Tkachuk - Tim Stutzle - Drake Batherson
Alex DeBrincat - Josh Norris - Claude Giroux
Derick Brassard - Shane Pinto - Dylan Gambrell
Parker Kelly - Mark Kastelic - Austin Watson
Thomas Chabot / Jacob Bernard-Docker
Jake Sanderson / Travis Hamonic
Erik Brannstrom / Nick Holden
Goalies: Cam Talbot or Anton Forsberg
Scratches: Mathieu Joseph
IR: Nikita Zadorov, Rourke Chartier, Tyler Motte, Artem Zub
—There should be more changes again for Ottawa, who will get Mathieu Joseph back from what basically was a quiet one game suspension/healthy scratch for a team rules violation. As a result, this will be the first Mathieu vs. P.O, brother vs. brother NHL game for the Joseph family.
—Talbot “earned” the win but was pretty poor last game, gotta wonder if the Sens will switch things up and use their 1B goalie Forsberg tonight.
—Brady Tkachuk was awesome with a five-point night on Wednesday, capped off with the OT GWG.
—Chabot played 26:20 on Wednesday night. In modern times he is right up their with the TOI leaders in the whole NHL and this year he is working on his fourth straight season for averaging 26+ minutes per game. At 25-years old, he can handle it, but in a way it will almost be a positive thing for Ottawa when they get enough good defenders to help bring Chabot’s total TOI down a little, as if in the weird way they will be better when they don’t have to lean on him quite so much.
—If Wednesday taught us anything it’s that Josh Norris should have a major impact in helping Ottawa get better in the second half of the season at 5v5 goals and finishing. His return helps slot other players in better positions for lower lines and he has a lot of skill.
—Once Pittsburgh gets Letang and Petry back, expect to see their defensive figures on 5v5 goals, expected goals and Corsi events all going in a positive way. For now it’s just about hanging on, this team is very poor defensively due to the personnel they are employing and the extended roles that many are in.
And now for the Pens...
Potential Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor - Teddy Blueger - Jeff Carter
Brock McGinn - Jonathan Gruden - Kasperi Kapanen
Brian Dumoulin / Ty Smith
Marcus Pettersson / Mark Friedman
P.O. Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Casey DeSmith (Dustin Tokarski)
Scratches: Taylor Fedun, Danton Heinen, Jan Rutta
IR: Jeff Petry (upper body, LTIR), Josh Archibald, Tristan Jarry, Ryan Poehling, Kris Letang
—The Penguins canceled on ice practices yesterday, prioritizing rest and recovery in the middle of this tough stretch. We’ll see if any movement happens for any of the players on IR. Ironically enough, many on the IR are seemingly much closer to a return than Rutta, who as of yet is not on IR (though may be going there soon to balance the roster out once others get healthy).
Stammer joins a rare club
Though not involved in tonight’s game, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos has been on a hot streak, recording his 500th career goals (he’s kept going and is to 503 already). Joe Smith at The Athletic wrote a very interesting article about the milestone and talked to plenty of other players who have accomplished it. This quote from 500+ goal scorer Jeremy Roenick stood out:
“Not too many people have a chance to win multiple Cups and score 500 goals. He’ll be getting a text from me.
“Welcome to the club.”
Stamkos and Sidney Crosby are the only active players that have scored 500+ goals and won multiple Stanley Cups. Evgeni Malkin (460) is on track to join them one day. An exclusive club indeed.