Goc, Stempniak likely to play tonight; Zatkoff goes for Penguins

PENGUINS (41-16-4, 86 pts) @ SHARKS (39-17-7, 85 pts)
Is tonight’s Penguins – Sharks game a potential Stanley Cup Preview? Maybe but not likely.
The Penguins and Sharks meet for the second time this season after playing in Pittsburgh on December 5th, a 5-1 Penguins win. Marc Andre Fleury turned aside 44 of 45 shots but a few Sharks players were not impressed with Fleury’s performance, namely Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski who called Fleury’s performance that night lucky and shaky.
“Stats aside, I don’t think Fleury was that good tonight,” Couture said following the Penguins 5-1 win over San Jose on Dec 5. “He gave up a lot of rebounds and a lot of shots he looked shaky on. We weren’t able to score on second chances.”
Fleury won’t have a chance to shut the Sharks down again.
Jeff Zatkoff will make his first start since January 30th. Zatkoff has won his last two starts and is 9-2-1 on the season. Antti Niemi will go for San Jose.
— Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak both arrived in San Jose today and it’s expected that both will play tonight, though, nothing official from the Penguins. “Yes I want to play {tonight},” Goc told reporters today.
— The talk out of the Penguins morning skate is that with Goc and Stempniak expected to play, Joe Vitale is likely to be scratched tonight.
— The Sharks are among three teams (San Jose, Chicago, St. Louis) that Sidney Crosby has never scored against. Crosby has played just five career games vs San Jose. Crosby has 29 goals on the season and is on the verge of his first 30 goal season since 2010-2011.
— Former Penguin Tyler Kennedy has just 4 goals in 52 games for the Sharks this season. After a career high 21 goals in 80 games during the 2010-2011 season, Kennedy has 21 goals in his last 158 regular season games.

— The Penguins haven’t won in San Jose since October 22, 1997.
— The Sharks are 24-4-4 at home
— The Penguins are 12-5-1 vs the Western Conference this season and Dan Bylsma’s all-time record in games against the Western Conference is 49-18-10.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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