Colorado Avalanche (8-8-1, 17pts) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (10-4-3, 23pts)
When: 7:38 p.m. | Where: Consol Energy Center
Referees: Dave Jackson (8); Francois St. Laurent (38) Linesmen Jean Morin (97); Tim Nowak (77)
*The Penguins will play their 59th straight game without Sidney Crosby tonight but the team does expect to get Tyler Kennedy back in the lineup.
Kennedy who this afternoon was activated off of IR, said he feels ready to go, while head coach Dan Bylsma again called him a game time decision this morning. Based on information coming out this afternoon, it would be a big surprise if he doesn’t play.
*Despite Steve Sullivan (groin) participating in the morning skate, his status is not expected to be determined until warmups.
*It’s the league’s No. 1 power play vs the league’s No. 1 penalty kill unit tonight. Colorado is clicking at 27.1% on the power play and a league best 41.4% on the road.
The Avalanche has scored multiple power-play goals in three of the last five games. After starting the year 0-for-10 in their first three contests, the Avalanche has gone 16-for-49 (32.7%) with the man advantage over the last 14 games.
Pittsburgh boast the No. 1 PK unit (47-for-50) at 94.0%. Marc Andre Fleury (9-2-1, 1.87 GAA) in goal tonight has stopped all 39 shots he has faced on the penalty kill.
*Pittsburgh comes into tonight’s game with the No. 6th ranked power play at 21.1%. Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Kris Letang have combined for 23 power play points.
*Pittsburgh and Coloardo have each struggled defensively at times even strength. Colorado has a minus-8 differential and Pittsburgh has a minus-7 differential giving up 33 even strength goals and scoring only 26.
*The Penguins have won back-to-back meetings against Colorado, including a 4-1 win on Dec. 3, 2009 in the most recent meeting between the teams in Pittsburgh. In the win, Sidney Crosby (2G-1A), Evgeni Malkin (3A) and Jordan Staal (1G-1A) combined for eight points, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 15 of 16 shots to earn the win.
The Penguins enter tonightâs game with a 5-0-2 record against the Western Conference this season. Dating back to a 2-1 overtime win against Los Angeles on Feb. 10 of last season, the Penguins are 9-0-4 in their last 13 games
against Western Conference teams.
The Penguins enter tonightâs game with a four-game home winning streak. During that streak the Penguins are outscoring foes 12-5. Pittsburgh will wear its dark blue third jerseys tonight for the third time this season. Thus far the Penguins are 1-1 this year when they wear dark blue.
*James Neal (3G-5A) carries a six-game point streak into tonightâs game. He has scored in all seven Penguin home games this year.
* Tonight will be Richard Parkâs 700th NHL game.
*Paul Martin ranks 692nd of 695 skaters with a minus-11 rating on the season.
Avalanche Game Notes
*Colorado is tied for first in the league in road wins (6) and road points (13).
*The Avs are 5-0 against Eastern Conference opponents this season, 4-0 on the road.
*Milan Hejduk will make his debut as the Avalanche’s team captain tonight.
– Hejduk has a three-game goal streak, tied for the longest streak on the team this season (David Jones, Oct. 13-17). In NHL history, only two Czech-born players have registered more points than Hejduk’s 769, Jaromir Jagr (1,614) and Patrik Elias
(831). Hejdukâs 364 goals are the second-most by a Czech-born player behind Jagrâs 652.
*Daniel Winnik needs one game to reach 300 for his NHL career.
*Paul Stastny is two points shy of tying Mats Sundin (334) for 10th place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.
*Gabriel Landeskog leads all NHL rookies in shots (61) and also ranks among the top rookies in goals (5).