Who: Chicago Blackhawks (25-49-6, 56 points, 8th place Central Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (40-30-10, 90 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet PIT, NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN+
Opponent Track: The Blackhawks have tumbled down to last in the NHL by losing 11 of their last 12 games. They are facing the Penguins in the latter half of a back-to-back after blowing a third-period lead in a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at home on Monday night.
Pens Path Ahead: The Islanders were smothered in regulation (thanks, Caps!) and the Panthers lost in overtime yesterday, so the Penguins have been granted a shot at controlling their own destiny by winning out. The good news is that tonight’s and Thursday’s opponents, the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets, are the bottom two teams in the league.
Season Series: The Penguins took the first game of this season series on November 20 at the United Center. Pittsburgh blew a three-goal lead, but a late tally from Sidney Crosby saved the day and the Penguins were relieved to claim a 5-3 win.
Getting to know the Blackhawks
A stick tap to our friends at: Second City Hockey (currently in a new, temporary location)
Monday Game Lines
Tyler Johnson - Jonathan Toews - Jason Dickinson
Anders Bjork - Andreas Athanasiou - Buddy Robinson
Boris Katchouk - Jujhar Khaira - Joey Anderson
Austin Wagner - Mackenzie Entwistle - Reese Johnson
Caleb Jones / Seth Jones
Wyatt Kaiser / Connor Murphy
Andreas Englund / Nikita Zaitsev
Goalies: Petr Mrazek (Alex Stalock started last night)
Scratches: Taylor Raddysh (groin), Philipp Kurashev (shoulder), Cole Guttman (shoulder), Colin Blackwell (hernia), Jarred Tinordi (hip), Ian Mitchell
- Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews returned from a two-month medical leave of absence at the beginning of this month and is finishing out the season with the Hawks. The center, who missed the 2020-21 season due to health issues stemming from chronic immune response syndrome (CIRS) and long COVID, recently told the Athletic’s Mark Lazerus he has “no idea” if he will be returning next season. He said to the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday that he is treating these final few games as his last in Chicago.
- Goaltender Alex Stalock has been a bright spot in a difficult season for the Blackhawks. Chicago’s Masterton nominee struggled with myocarditis stemming from COVID-19 for three years before returning to put up some highlight-reel saves and collect a .912 save percentage over 25 games this season. Stalock played last night against the Wild, however, so it looks like the Penguins might face .892 SV% Petr Mrazek. In Mrazek’s last outing on Saturday, he was lit up for seven goals against by the Seattle Kraken.
- The Blackhawks’ top three producers of this season are gone. Max Domi is in Dallas, Patrick Kane is skating at Madison Square and Taylor Raddysh is out with a groin injury.
- Rookie Lukas Reichel has emerged as a dependable winger for the Blackhawks this season, but he won’t be playing tonight. He’s in the AHL, where the Rockford IceHogs are trying to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.
And now for the Pens...
Monday Practice Lines
Jake Guentzel - MVP - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Ryan Poehling - Mikael Granlund
Nick Bonino? - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
P.O. Joseph / Jeff Petry
Dmitry Kulikov? / Jan Rutta
Goalies: Tristan Jarry, Casey DeSmith
Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel, Marcus Pettersson, Mark Friedman, Drew O’Connor
LTIR: Dmitry Kulikov (lower-body injury), Nick Bonino (lacerated kidney), Marcus Pettersson (lower body)
- Dmitry Kulikov, Nick Bonino and Marcus Pettersson were all wearing regular full-contact jerseys at practice on Monday, according to Pens Inside Scoop. Kulikov skated with Jan Rutta on the bottom line, while Pettersson worked in the extra pair with Mark Friedman and Chad Ruhwedel. The only skater not taking contact was Drew O’Connor.
Mike Sullivan on the injured guys: "The only one in a no-contact jersey was OC. The other guys were full participation, which is the last step before return to play. We'll see where these guys are tomorrow, and we'll make decisions accordingly with the help of our medical staff."— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) April 10, 2023
- The Penguins were watching the Islanders and Panthers lose yesterday and know they can make the playoffs with two more wins. Let’s see if they can pull off the first against the depleted Blackhawks.