The Penguins now control their playoff fates as their wildcard competitors stumble.
The Pens' hopes are looking up as the New York Islanders, their rivals for the second Eastern Conference Wildcard playoff position, choked in the clutch last night. They lost a must-win game against the Washington Capitals, allowing the Pens to now control their own destiny. That means if the Penguins win the final two games of the season they will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 17th consecutive year.
Standing in their way for those wins are the two last-placed teams in the league: the 32nd-ranked Chicago Blackhawks in the home finale tonight and the 31st-ranked Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tonight the Pens will have their home finale and "fan appreciation" against the Hawks. It's always one night they really give an extra effort to put on a show on ice. And we know one thing Pittsburgh fans would appreciate more than anything is a win. Now on to the game details!
Pens Game #81: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks- Home Finale
Date: April 11, 2023
Time: 7:30 PM (ET)
Place: Pittsburgh, PA
Venue: PPG Paints Arena
Penguins Broadcast: AT&T Sportsnet
Blackhawks Broadcast: NBC Sports Chicago
Online Stream: ESPN+
Penguins Radio: 105.9 The X/Penguins Radio Network
Blackhawks Radio: WGN 720
Records- PIT: 40-30-10, CHI: 25-49-6
Last 10- PIT: 6-4-0, CHI: 1-9-0
Streaks- PIT: 2 Wins, CHI: 3 Losses
Standings- PIT: 18th, CHI: 32nd
Points- PIT: 90, CHI: 56
PIT: Eastern Conference #9, 1 point out of 2nd Eastern Wildcard spot.
CHI: Officially eliminated.
Season Series- 1-0 PIT
Series Goals For- PIT: 5, CHI: 3
Team Analytics Comparison:
Confirmed starting goalies:
-Tristan Jarry- #35
Bio Info: 6' 2", 194 lbs. DOB: 4/29/1995 (27). From: Surrey, BC.
Drafted: 2013- Rd 2, Pk 44 (PIT). Experience: 7th Season.
Record: 24-12-6, 2.89 GAA, .910 SV%
Career vs. CHI: 1-0-1, 1.92 GAA, .923 SV%
-Petr Mrazek- #34
Bio Info: 6' 2", 188 lbs. DOB: 2/14/1992 (31). From: Ostrava, Czechia.
Drafted: 2010- Rd 5, Pk 141 (DET). Experience: 10th Season.
Record: 9-22-3, 3.71 GAA, .892 SV%
Career vs. PIT: 3-5-1, 3.64 GAA, .895 SV%
The Penguins cracked 40 wins for the season last game with their victory over the Red Wings.
From his performance in yesterday's practice and updates from the team today, it seems like defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is ready to return tonight. Mark Friedman is the next man bumped out of the lineup from the steadily improving healthy roster. Drew O'Connor was designated a game-time decision. Alexander Nylander has once again been recalled from the AHL to fill in if O'Connor can't play.
NEXT UP: The regular season finale on Thursday on the road in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Anything beyond that is up to the Penguins. But just in case it becomes relevant, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin a week from today on Tuesday, April 17th…with or without Pittsburgh.
-Nick Bonino (F): LTIR, lacerated kidney, day to day.
-Dmitry Kulikov (D): lower body, game-time decision.
-Drew O’Connor (F): upper body, game-time decision.
-Marcus Pettersson (D): LTIR, lower body, week-to-week.
The projected Penguins lines for Tuesday, April 11, 2023, vs. the Chicago Blackhawks:
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Ryan Poehling - Mikael Granlund
Drew O’Connor*/Alex Nylander - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
P.O. Joseph - Jeff Petry
Dmitry Kulikov*/Mark Friedman - Jan Rutta
PP1: Letang, Malkin, Crosby, Rakell, Guentzel
PP2: Joseph, Zucker, Rust, Granlund, Carter
PK1: Poehling, Rust, Dumoulin, Petry
PK2: Granlund, Archibald, Rutta, Letang
The Blackhawks are on the second game of a back-to-back situation, they lost 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild last night. Chicago has done a lot of losing this season overall and of late especially, only winning once in their last 10 games.
Their starter for tonight is playing just as poorly as the overall team. The last time goalie Petr Mrazek started he allowed seven goals on 31 shots in a loss to the Seattle Kraken on Saturday.
-Trade Deadline Movements-
Key players added: Forward- Jason Dickinson, Hunter Drew. Defense- Nikita Zaitsev.
Key players lost: Forward- Josiah Slavin. Defense- Nicolas Beaudin, Riley Stillman.
-Colin Blackwell (F): groin, out for the season.
-Cole Guttman (F): IR, shoulder, out for the season.
-Philipp Kurashev (F): shoulder, out for the season.
-Taylor Raddysh (F): groin, out for the season.
For The Penguins: Sidney (Surprise!) Crosby. The Captain does not intend to miss the playoffs for only the third time in his 18-year career. He had a performance for the ages in Detroit with two goals and an assist. Crosby single-handedly fueled his crew to victory by once again leading by example. Combine his performance against the Wings with his recent stint of six points in the last five games that makes Sid the most outstanding Penguin of the moment.
For The Blackhawks: Andreas Athanasiou. There obviously aren't many bright spots in Chicago currently but Athanasiou is the rare exception. He has seven points in the last five games including three multi-point games. Andreas could throw a wrench into the Pens' plans of getting an easy win if they're not careful.