tiops-smallPenguins Morning Skate Buzz

Pittsburgh will dress the same lineup tonight vs the Ottawa Senators.

Conor Sheary – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel
Chris Kunitz – Nick Bonino – Bryan Rust
Scott Wilson – Matt Cullen – Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Trevor Daley
Ian Cole – Justin Schultz

That means no Jake Guentzel and no Matt Murray.

Fleury getting a third straight start is certainly a key development and will be a talking point today. It will be the first time Fleury has made three consecutive starts since October, prior to Matt Murray coming back from injury.

The rotation has suddenly tilted towards Fleury.

Question remains whether it’s actually because of Fleury’s play or other things at play. Reality it’s a little bit of both as this coaching staff has pressure on them to play Fleury.

Mike Sullivan claimed this morning a third straight start for Fleury is performance related.

Since Murray started three straight games (Nov 12-18), tonight will mark Fleury starting six of nine games and Fleury has appeared in six of the Penguins last eight games as Murray exited after one period vs the Capitals.

Fleury can’t complain this week of the rotation. He’s getting regular time.

— The Guentzel situation is reaching the point where if the coaching staff is still bugged about something from the Islanders game that got him in the doghouse, despite three goals in his first four games, than he needs to go down to Wilkes Barre who have three straight games (Dec 9-11) later this week.

Carl Hagelin is expected to play again with Evgeni Malkin. Hagelin had 2 assists in Saturday’s win with both helpers coming on shifts when playing with Malkin.

On Penguins & Trailing after Two Periods

A criticism for the Penguins this season — they have trailed after two periods in 50% of their games, 12 of 24. —

When Trailing after two periods:

Winnipeg Jets – 17 times
Vancouver Canucks – 16 times
Tampa Bay Lightning – 13 times
Anaheim Ducks – 13 times
Calgary Flames – 12 times
Chicago Blackhawks – 12 times
Buffalo Sabres – 12 times
Dallas Stars – 12 times
Colorado Avalanche – 12 times
Pittsburgh Penguins – 12 times

The Penguins are tied with the New Jersey Devils with a league-high five wins when trailing after two periods. There’s been no real trend. The Penguins are falling behind against good and bad teams. They have 2 wins – 4 losses against teams currently in playoff positioning, with 3 wins – 3 losses against teams currently outside of the playoffs.

Red Wings – Win
Islanders – Loss
Devils – Win
Wild – Loss
Rangers – Loss
Sabres – Shootout Loss
Capitals – Loss
Oilers – Win
Panthers – Win
Predators – Loss
Sharks – Win
Canadiens – Loss

Is it really that alarming yet? 43% of NHL teams have trailed after two periods at least 11 times.

League Source: Pouliot camp could seek change of scenery if things don’t change soon

Derrick Pouliot’s representatives at Newport Sports To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!