Who: Ottawa Senators (3-4-0, 6 points, 7th place Eastern Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (3-4-0, 6 points, 7th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m.
How to Watch: Sportsnet Pittsburgh, streaming on ESPN+
Pens’ Path Ahead: The Penguins get another single-day break between tonight’s contest and their next home game against the Anaheim Ducks Monday. Then, the team gets four days off before hitting the road for a California road trip that will take them to San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.
Opponent Track: The Senators dropped their third straight decision Thursday night in a 3-2 regulation loss to the host New York Islanders. After the Isles scored the go-ahead tally in the third, the Senators had 13 minutes to fight for a tie but could not find the net. “It stings, tonight really hurts,” captain Brady Tkachuk said after the loss. “We’ve gotta put this behind us and focus on Pittsburgh.”
Season Series: The Penguins meet the Senators in Ottawa on Christmas Eve Eve, then see them again on the road March 12.
Last Year: The Pens played the Sens twice in a three-day span last January, which started with a 5-4 overtime loss (Rickard Rakell’s late tying power-play goal went to waste when Brady Tkachuk ended the game 25 seconds into the extra frame) and ended with a 4-1 win (Rakell opened scoring, Jake Guentzel converted twice.) The two met again in March, when despite a goal from— you guessed it— Rakell, the Penguins fell in a flat 2-1 loss.
Trivia Question: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are two of three active players with more than 50 points against the Senators. Can who guess who the third is?
Getting to know the Senators
Projected Game Lines
Brady Tkachuk - Tim Stützte - Claude Giroux
Dominik Kubalik - Joshua Norris - Drake Batherson
Mathieu Joseph - Ridly Greig - Vladimir Tarasenko
Parker Kelly - Rourke Chartier - Mark Kastelic
Jake Sanderson / Travis Hamonic
Jakob Chychrun / Jacob Bernard-Docker
? / ?
Goalies: Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg
Possible scratches: Thomas Chabot (hand), Erik Brannstrom, Artem Zub (head)
Suspended: Shane Pinto
- Pinto made modern NHL history as the first player suspended for gambling Thursday and will be sitting out the next 41 games, but he hasn’t yet played for the Sens this season anyway as conflict continues over his next contract.
- That’s not the only bad news the Senators got this week. Thomas Chabot is set to miss the next four to six weeks after fracturing his hand on a shot block Thursday, according to the Ottawa Citizen’s Tim Baines. Erik Brannstrom, who was stretchered off the ice during Thursday, has a concussion. Given that the team is already missing Artem Zub, who has been replaced by call-up Bernard-Docker, those injuries will stretch the team’s defensive depth to its limit. The Hockey News’ Steve Warne named Sens training camp standout Jiri Smejkal as a possible call-up.
- After missing the first three games of the season, Norris has returned to the lineup and at least one point in the Sens’ last four games, including two goals in the team’s 6-1 thrashing of the Washington Capitals last week prior to their current losing streak.
- Vladimir Taranseko is still good.
Welcome to the Vladimir Tarasenk-show!— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 18, 2023
Watch the Senators vs. Capitals on Sportsnet and stream on Sportsnet+. pic.twitter.com/vTV1mmqk71
- Even beyond whichever call-ups will step in for Brannstrom and Chabot, this is an inexperienced Senators roster. Greig, Chartier and Bernard-Docker all have yet to get a full NHL season under their belts.
- Korpisalo has allowed five goals against in two of his four starts so far this season. Excepting a solid performance against the Islanders Thursday, goaltending has been a visibly weak spot for the Senators.
Senators looking to get back in the win column. Team defense has taken a bit of a dip over the last couple of games but overall very good - goaltending the main issue, costing the Sens a goal per game on average. Korpisalo doesn't need to be better than Sorokin tonight, just… pic.twitter.com/HFUcbito5D— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) October 26, 2023
And now for the Pens...
Infographic courtesy of Pens PR
Projected Game Lines (from Thursday’s game, no practice Friday)
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor - Lars Eller - Radim Zohorna
Matt Nieto - Noel Acciari - Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Tristan Jarry and Magnus Hellberg
Expected scratches: P.O Joseph (or Shea or Ruhwedel), John Ludvig (concussion)
IR: Alex Nedeljkovic
Season opening IR: Raivis Ansons, Will Butcher
Trivia Answer: The third active player with more than 50 career points against the Senators is erstwhile Pens rival Alex Ovechkin.
- The Penguins had an off-ice workout instead of on-ice practice Friday, per Pens Inside Scoop.
- The Penguins are coming out of their best game of the season so far, and a struggling Senators team with a general manager who doesn’t believe they are quite a playoff team yet could be the perfect opponent against whom to repeat the feat.
- If the Pens decide to ride their hot goaltender, they will give Jarry his fifth career starter against the Sens. In four starts so far he has a 3-1-0 record with a .933 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average.
- The most notable forward still without a goal this season: Rickard Rakell. The most notable defenseman: Kris Letang.