Helloooooooo everybodyyyyy, the Penguins (28-12-5) return home for a quick game against the Minnesota Wild (20-19-6) before they hit the road again for a set of back-to-back games Thursday and Friday. Puck drop is set for just after 7PM from PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins just swept their mini three-game west coast trip beating the Knights, Av's and Coyotes all by scores of 4-3. What's one thing that all of those teams have in common? They're all contending for a playoff spot. It may have taken eight rounds in a shootout but the Pens came away victorious on Sunday night against the Yotes, thanks to Teddy Blueger's goal. Of course, they don't get there without Brandon Tanev's tying goal with just 3:02 left to go in regulation. That was Tanev's third goal in five games and he now has 21 points in 45 games. As a comparison, Tanev had 29 points in 80 games last season with the Winnipeg Jets.
Could Sidney Crosby finally return tonight? Crosby has missed the last 28 games after undergoing successful core muscle surgery. He's close and has been going full in practice and traveled with the team to the West Coast. Generally, Sid fares pretty well in his return games. Remember this one?
Video - AliHakeemiTV
The Penguins have been an absolute powerhouse despite losing their best player. In 28 games without Sid, they've gone 18-6-4. Obviously, that is because a few players have stepped up such as goaltender Tristan Jarry, Evgeni Malkin (38 points in 28 games), Bryan Rust (18 goals already this season) and essentially everyone but Alex Galchenyuk but that's another story for a different day.
The Wild enter play tonight 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 20-19-6. They're coming off a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday and are 4-5-1 over their last ten games. Minnesota is led by forward Eric Staal who has 33 points (16G,17A) in 45 games but keep an eye on future Penguin Jason Zucker. The 27 year-old just returned from a broken fibula which has kept him out since December 15th. In 35 games this season, Zucker has 12 goals and 12 assists. Zucker is signed through the 2022-2023 season with a cap hitting carrying $5.5M AAV. If you recall, the Penguins tried to trade for Zucker over the summer in a deal reportedly involving Phil Kessel and Jack Johnson. Victor Rask, who is a healthy scratch for the Wild currently, was also part of that deal.
Expect Tristan Jarry vs Devan Dubnyk in goal tonight. Nothing is giving me that hunch...it's just both teams starting goaltenders.
Bruce Boudreau lmaooooo - Video - Hockey Stuff
He's absolutely going to ruin the team chemistry and the Pens will lose their next 13 games but at least he's the best in the world.
Since Crosby went down on November 12th, Evgeni Malkin has 38 points (11G, 27A). He is "fire."
Malkin has points in 13 of his last 15 games (7G, 15A).
Per the Pens, in 146 career games without Crosby, Malkin has a 1.36 points-per-game average (198 points).
Dating back to December 4th, the Penguins are 14-3-1. That's really good.
Maybe Brandon Tanev was underpaid after all?
This will be the final game between these two clubs this year. The Penguins beat the Wild 7-4 up in Minnesota back on October 12th.
The Penguins usually own the Wild.
Just incase you forgot...Minnesota still has Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed through the 2024-2025 season.
Nick Bjugstad and Justin Schultz continue to skate before practice. Honestly, I don't even care about Schultz anymore since John Marino is the second coming of Christ.
Kris Letang was named the captain of the Metrosexual Division all-star team yesterday. We have no doubt that he just turned that 'C' over.
The Pens have a back-to-back this week with Boston and Detroit Thursday and Friday.
To make matters worse, the Pens play Boston Sunday at 12:30PM back in Pittsburgh. This week is going to be a disaster.