The Pittsburgh Penguins have won six of their last seven games including three wins on their western Canada road trip and a wild 6-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. The Penguins will have a different kind of test Monday night when they face the Ottawa Senators, who have the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference (16-18-5) at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins have points in 18 of their last 21 games against Ottawa (14-3-4) dating back to January 27, 2013. At home, the Penguins have won seven consecutive games versus Ottawa, and have points in 10-straight games (9-0-1).
Ottawa has lost eight of its nine road games this season. The Penguins and Ottawa are the only game on the NHL calendar on Monday.
Tristan Jarry was the first goalie off at Monday’s morning skate and will likely start for the Penguins against Ottawa. Jarry has won his last four starts while posting a 1.70 GAA, .942 SV% and one shutout. Since the middle of November, he is tied for second in wins (10), second in GAA (1.74) and third in SV% (.943). Marcus Hogberg starts for Ottawa in the opposite net.
Jarry, and Evgeni Malkin were snubbed for the NHL All-Star game. Jake Guentzel is potentially the Penguins lone representative.
The Penguins blew a three-goal lead, but still pulled out the win 6-4 against Nashville, Saturday. For the second straight game, the Penguins started fast as they ended the first period up three to nothing. The Penguins received goals from Bryan Rust (15) and Dominik Kahun (9) less than two minutes into the period to apply some early pressure. Kris Letang added his tenth of the year later in the period to force Nashville to change goalies for the second time in as many days.
Nashville punched back in the second period as they put up a three-goal period of their own. At 4:07 into the period, Viktor Arvidsson found a rebound on the power play to get his team on the board. The Penguins were quick to answer as they responded with a power-play tally of their own. Alex Galchenyuk controlled a pass in the slot and whipped it to retake a three-goal lead. The Penguins seemed they would escape the period with a multi-goal lead but two late tallies by Nashville trimmed the lead to just one.
The Penguins appeared to be set up for a disappointment at home as Nashville started the period with jump and tied the game less than nine minutes into the period. Mikael Granlund tapped in a mid-air rebound for his second goal of the game, and the 100th of his NHL career, to knot the score at 4-4 in the third. Despite blowing the three-goal lead, the Penguins found a way to win another close game. After a well-played period by both teams, the Penguins found the game-winner late on the power play. Jake Guentzel stuffed the puck home from the side of the cage with a 1:03 left in regulation. Bryan Rust scored an empty netter seconds later to ice the game.
Matt Murray started the game for the Penguins and earned the win. Murray remained tested often as he stopped 44 of 48 shots including seven of eight on the power play. Pekka Rinne, in relief of Juuse Saros, made 25 saves. You can read more about the Penguins game in Dan’s Recap and the PHN Extra Report Card.
Ottawa rallied late but still lost in OT 4-3 to New Jersey, Sunday. Rookie Jack Hughes had the game-winning goal and added an assist in the win for New Jersey. Thomas Chabot (4) scored the tying goal in the third period to force overtime, but hit the post in the extra frame. Mackenzie Blackwood outdueled Craig Anderson by making 20 saves in the win. Anderson stopped 30 of 34 shots.
Jake Guentzel has six goals in six career games versus Ottawa, which includes five goals in three games at home.
The Penguins have accumulated a 13-5-3 record in the 21 games that captain Sidney Crosby has missed due to injury this season. During that span, Their 13 wins are tied for fourth-most in the NHL.
Bryan Rust continued his career year with another four-point performance (2G-2A) on Saturday against Nashville. Rust’s four points tied a single-game career-high, previously set on Dec. 5, 2016, vs. OTT, and then matched roughly one month ago on Nov. 27, 2019. For perspective, Rust had just one four-point night in the first 266 games of his career, but now has two four-point games in his last 11 games played. Overall, he has points in seven of his last eight games (7G-6A-13PTS).
Scouts in Attendance:
LA Kings (2x)
NYR (local scout)
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) December 30, 2019
Sidney Crosby (Core Muscle, skating)
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, skating)
Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)
Justin Schultz (Lower Body, Longer term)
Dylan DeMelo (Finger, IR)
Anders Nilsson (Concussion, IR)
Nikita Zaitsev (Lower Body, IR)
Ron Hainsey (Lower Body)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||19.3% (15th NHL)||81.0% (14th NHL)|
|Ottawa Senators||11.4% (31st NHL)||81.4% (13th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Jared McCann||Dominik Kahun|
|Sam Lafferty||Joseph Blandisi||Patric Hornqvist|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Jack Johnson||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Juuso Riikola||Chad Ruhwedel|