Helllllooooooooooo everybodyyyyyy, tonight the Penguins (34-15-6) play game two of the Jason Zucker era when they welcome in the Montreal Canadiens (27-25-7). Puck is set to drop from PPG Paints Arena just after 7PM.
Well folks, the first game of the Jason Zucker era did not go the Penguins way as they fell by a score of 2-1 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yanni Gourde scored the winner 2:45 into the extra frame despite the Penguins having several opportunities to put the game away. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves for the Bolts and increased his point streak to 19. The Penguins got on the board first thanks to an Evgeni Malkin power play goal but that was all they would get. Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev evened the score in the second and from there it was pretty much all Lightning. Very fitting that two Russian players would get both teams on the board, considering they were honoring the 1980 'Miracle on Ice' team but it's whatever.
The Canadiens enter this game having lost their last two, most recently falling to Boston Bruins by a score of 4-1 on Wednesday night. Zdeno Chara is an absolute animal. He got Habs forward Brendan Gallagher in the face with a vicious cross-check and was fined $5,000 which is the maximum fine allowed under the NHL's collective bargaining agreement. My thoughts: I wish this would have happened to Luke Schenn throughout his entire career. Didn't see it?
Video - Sportsnet
When it rains, it pours for the Canadiens. It was announced that defenseman Shea Weber (who was traded one-for-one back in the summer of 2016 for PK Subban) will be out for 4-6 weeks with an ankle sprain. There was rumors that this would keep him out for the season and even potentially threaten his career, however, he was re-evaluated and the new timetable is far better news. With the Habs falling out of the playoff race, they could become sellers at the deadline. That said, they still usually play the Penguins pretty well. In the two matchups so far this season, the Penguins are 1-1 and most recently coming off a 3-2 win in overtime at Montreal back on January 4th thanks to none other than the GOAT Brandon Tanev.
This will be the final matchup between these two clubs this season.
Jason Zucker skated alongside Dominik Simon and Sidney Crosby yesterday at practice. Expect him to start on that line tonight.
Patric Hornqvist was on the 4th line in practice yesterday with the Agozzino and Lafferty.
Some actual good news...forward Dominik Kahun skated yesterday in a non-contact jersey. He should be good to go soon.
Still no word on Brian Dumoulin which is slightly concerning.
Does Nick Bjugstad even play for this team anymore?
With his goal against the Lightning on Tuesday, Evgeni Malkin has 5 goals over his last 10 games.
The game against the Canadiens will begin a stretch for the Pens in which they'll play 6 games in 10 days.
Per Penguins PR, The Penguins are 20-6-1 over their last 27 games.
Just staring at Bryan Rust's stats... Good lord what a player... he has 45 points already this season (22G, 23A).
Habs forward Nick Suzuki has 9 points (3G, 6A) over his last 9 games.
Per Elliotte Friedman, the Minnesota Wild have fired Head Coach Bruce Boudreau. That makes my heart happy on this Valentine's Day.
If you didn't see it (and it's not fun to watch) Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a 'cardiac episode' Tuesday night in which resulted in the Blues & Ducks postponing their game. Luckily he sees to be alright but that was some scary shit.