Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger in vs Oilers

 

Forwards Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel will draw into the lineup tonight vs the Edmonton Oilers. Aston-Reese returns to action after a month long absence due to a broken left hand. Ruhwedel will dress for the first time since November 19th. The notable healthy scratch tonight will be Dominik Simon. Simon has flourished this season in almost all advanced metrics, has been very good at creating offense, but his season is starting to reach the point where he has to start putting up more points. Simon with 7 goals, 14 assists in 48 games, has no points in his last seven games. However, you look at the group of best available forwards the Penguins can dress tonight and Simon is still one of them. LINEUP Guentzel – Crosby – Rust Pearson – Bjugstad – Kessel Blueger – McCann – Hornqvist Aston-Resse — Cullen – Wilson D-Pairs DuMoulinRead More »

Evgeni Malkin suspended one game

 

The National Hockey League has suspended Penguins center Evgeni Malkin one game for high-sticking Flyers winger Michael Raffl. The NHL viewed Malkin’s recklessness as an “intentional stick swing” for the “purposes of retaliation.” “This is an intentional stick swing directed at an opponent with force,” the Depart of Player Safety said in their ruling.

Olli Maatta out long-term

 

defenseman Olli Maatta is “out indefinitely” the team announced. Maatta suffered a significant shoulder injury in Monday’s 4-1 win over the Flyers. Options are still being evaluated moving forward that will determine a timetable of the injury.

Big Game Murray saves the day in a four point swing; Playing at a 95 point Pace & More Takeaways

 

Big Game Murray shines vs Flyers Surrendering 51 shots, the Penguins escaped Philadelphia with a 4-1 win thanks to a 50-save performance from Matt Murray who became the seventh goaltender in Penguins history to make 50 saves in a game. According to the Penguins, Murray also set a Penguins record for saves in a period with 28 in the second period vs the Flyers. Murray was dominant in the second period onslaught as Philadelphia outshot Pittsburgh 28-6 in the period, yet, Pittsburgh out-scored the Flyers 1-0 in the period. “He played unbelievable,” Sidney Crosby said. When Murray is locked in like this, he’s playing upright, playing big and his angles are near perfect. That was all on display in a big time performance from Murray in another four point swing game against a division foe that is trailing Pittsburgh in the standings. It was a major swing game for PhiladelphiaRead More »

PIT – FLA Fallout: On mind-boggling decision to have Matt Cullen center the 2nd line; Options with Kessel limited & More Buzz

 

Penguins – Panthers Fallout A 3-2 overtime loss to the lottery Florida Panthers is nothing to pound your chest about but with the Metropolitan Division so bottled up, Mike Sullivan went the positive route in the Penguins getting a point in Florida. “It’s a big point and that’s what I told the guys afterward,” Mike Sullivan said of his group. The daily swing in the Metro has Pittsburgh entering Friday in the final wildcard spot and just three points up on Carolina. What the coaches will like from the performance vs Florida compared to the Carolina game was the Penguins battling much better in the tough areas. Still, allowing 42 Shots against this Panthers team and being at 45% in possession 5-on-5, were numbers you don’t want to see against an inferior opponent. Among the head scratchers in this one was the use of Matt Cullen. Playing Cullen in theRead More »

Penguin management envisioned Bjugstad playing on Crosby’s RW

 

When the Penguins decided to move forward last Friday in acquiring Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann from Florida, Penguin management made the deal with the intentions that Blugstad will play on Sidney Crosby’s right wing and Jared McCann would be the third line center. The Malkin injury put that plan on stand-by but Bjugstad moving up to the top-line right wing is a direction the staff is leaning towards Thursday night vs the Florida Panthers. Blugstad has 1 assist, 9 shots on goal in three games with Pittsburgh. LINE COMBOS Guentzel – Crosby – Blugstad Rust – Cullen – Kessel Simon – McCann – Hornqvist Pearson – Blueger – Wilson

Jack Johnson moving up to the 2nd pair?

 

Penguin coaches are mulling the possibility of putting Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz on separate pairs to start when Justin Schultz returns which will be in a game or two. While Schultz was still on the extra pairing, Wednesday’s practice was the start of the staff exploring some potential combos. One that will likely make the fan base go nuts was Jack Johnson being paired with Brian Dumoulin. Marcus Pettersson – Kris Letang Brian Dumoulin – Jack Johnson Olli Maatta – Juuso Riikola Extra: Chad Ruhwedel – Justin Schultz

Matt Murray being evaluated for another injury

 

Penguins goaltender Matt Murray did not practice Wednesday and is being evaluated for an upper body injury. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Murray is not being evaluated for a concussion and is being listed as day-to-day. Mirrored in an up and down season, the 24 year old netminder is 15-9-1 with a 2.97 GAA and .909 save percentage on the season. Murray allowed 3 goals on 31 shots in Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Hurricanes. Murray is 2-3 with a .902 save percentage in his last five games as his play has started to slip after a great 9-10 game stretch. Murray’s injury woes combined with Casey DeSmith’s play also tailing off, increase the chances of Tristan Jarry sticking around past the deadline.

Lack of support game, Possession woes continue vs Hurricanes

 

Lack of support game, Possession woes continue vs Hurricanes In a game that was a four point swing, the Carolina Hurricanes closed to within four points of the Penguins in the Metropolitan division with a 4-0 shutout win on Tuesday night. The Penguins who have lost six of nine, dropped their second straight and there was a trend between the Toronto and Carolina game. Both games turned into 5-on-5 games with limited power play opportunities. Pittsburgh had just two power play chances vs the Hurricanes and one vs Toronto. The Penguins have been outscored 6-1 during 5-on-5 play over their last two games. More concerning 5-on-5 #’s vs the Leafs and Hurricanes: 44% possession vs TOR, 41% possession vs CAR. Against the Leafs, even though the Penguins built up a 2-0 lead, they were behind the eight-ball in the way the game was playing out as the Toronto game sawRead More »

Post-Game Buzz: Rust, Guentzel, Blugstad/McCann, Blueger

 

Penguins 5 – Senators 3 (F) POST-GAME 5 Bryan Rust (14G-12A-26Pts) – 2 Goals vs in the win, giving him 14 goals in 50 games. These aren’t Charlie Hustle type goals in around the crease. Rust is burying shots with a goal scorers mentality, picking corners extremely well. Rust is now on pace for 23 goals. The crowd complaining of the Rust contract has been quiet. Jake Guentzel (26G-23A-49Pts) – Netting goals 25 and 26 on the season, Guentzel iced the game with 2:52 remaining. Can Guentzel get to 40 goals? Scoring at a 42, 79 point pace, Guentzel would be the first Penguins winger since James Neal to score 40 goals (2011-2012) if he gets there. Nick Bjugstad/Jamie McCann – It was just the Ottawa Senators + first game with a new team running on a lot of adrenaline so you should never over evaluate no matter how theRead More »