Hellllooooooooo everyboddddyyyy, how areeee yaaaa. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever you wish to celebrate. The Penguins (21-11-4) are back in action after a six day break and take on Nashville Predators (18-12-6). Puck drop is set for just after 8pm from Bridgestone Arena.
Honestly, it's been so long since the Penguins last played I forgot what happened. Okay, so I just checked online. The Pens lost to the Canucks last Saturday by a score of 4-1. Oh yeah, now I remember. J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson each recorded a goal and an assist and Matt Murray, the Penguins backup goalie, allowed 4 goals on 14 shots. It was a yikes kinda night. That said, the Penguins still went 2-1 on their Western Canada trip and enter play tonight holding down the first wildcard spot with 46 points.
The Predators have been underwhelming to say the least so far this year. They enter play tonight having won two straight, but don't let that fool you, they really haven't been that good. Much like the Penguins (until our Lord and Savior Tristan Jarry arrived), the Preds biggest problem is goaltending. Both Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros are sporting a sub .900 save percentage which is obviously less than ideal. In fact, this would be Rinne's first sub .900 save percentage of his career if the numbers hold up. The Preds are led by Roman Josi who has 35 points in 36 games (14G, 21A). Josi actually leads all NHL defensemen in goals entering play tonight.
Unfortunately, we'll get to see both goalies this weekend with a back-to-back. Because the NHL is so good at scheduling, the Pens will play Nashville at home tomorrow night to conclude the season series. Realistically, does it matter who starts tonight? I'd go Jarry tonight and Murray tomorrow since the Pens usually dominate on home ice and Murray's ego is fragile right now. For Nashville, I have no idea. Flip and flop both of their goalies, they both have been pretty bad this season with a difference of .02 in save percentage for the season.
Former Penguin legend Nick Bonino already has 13 goals this year. How are yaaaaaa.
In terms of least shocking news, the Penguins have recalled forward Joseph Blandisi. Not only did they recall him but Thomas Di Pauli and Kevin Czuczman were also recalled. They were sent down during the break.
Per the Penguins, Pittsburgh has earned points against Nashville in 12 of the last 15 games dating back to February 4th 2010 (10-3-2).
This will be the Penguins ninth set of back-to-back games this season. They are 4-3-1 on the season in the first game.
Actually I changed my mind. Maybe Matt Murray should start this game considering the last time he was good was on Bridgestone Arena ice.
Unreal that Jake Guentzel has 18 goals this season...especially because he's a product of Sidney Crosby or so I was told.
Per the Penguins, they have the second most wins against the Western Conference this season with 14. On that list are also the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, and Winnipeg Jets. Notice something weird? lmao
Never forget when the Pens won the Cup here. Patric Hornqvist goal late and Hagelin hits the empty-netter. My God.