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Penguins at Canucks Preview: Vengeance In Vancouver

After two tough losses the Pens attempt course correction vs. the Canucks.

Pittsburgh Penguin Evgeni Malkin vs. Vancouver Canuck Bo Horvat
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images.

It's been an absolutely brutal week for the Penguins in Alberta. They dropped two tough losses back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday by a score of 6-3 and 4-1 respectively. Before those stops, they never allowed more than three goals against in a game all year.

But even the final scores don't fully paint the picture of just how outplayed they were in those outings. The pace was always firmly controlled by the opponents. The Penguins never quite took full control of any parts of those games. The tale of the tape is in the advanced stats which show missed opportunities everywhere. The heat maps recorded their lack of offense (vs. Edmonton, vs. Calgary). And the game scorecards (vs. Edmonton, vs. Calgary) also depict stark defensive lapses by most players.

It draws an ugly picture. One Penguins fans have to hope was merely a product of the shock of losing both Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker due to injury in a short time span. Tonight as the Penguins visit the Vancouver Canucks their ability to battle through those bad breaks will be tested.

Vancouver just crawled out of the last spot in the league standings last night. They only have one win on the year and it too came just yesterday. It pulled their record up to 1-5-2. Many of their woes start in the net. They have the fifth-highest goals against record of any NHL team at 4.25 GA/GP. They aren't generating upfront either at 2.88 goals/GP. Their penalty kill is also dead last of any team at a 60% kill rate. These are all opportunities the Pens have the talent to exploit.

Injuries have decimated the Canucks lineup too, with six regulars sidelined including their #1 defenseman Quinn Hughes and top-scoring winger Brock Boeser. There are no excuses for the Penguins on Friday night. Vancouver is as vulnerable as an opponent gets. The Penguins have to pounce on this opportunity to make a big statement in response to two terrible outings in Alberta.

Salty Sully

Head Coach Mike Sullivan is not pleased with this two-game performance either. There was a tense, long talk between Sully and the team at center ice post-practice on Thursday. The expectations for this amount of talent are high. Sullivan is an excellent coach who has his sights on the potential ceiling of these players together. It's not often you see a serious discussion in practice after a two-game skid within the first three weeks of the season but this group has completely different performance expectations than normal teams. Post-talk Sullivan said this of the content:

Jarry's Strength vs. Vancouver

Tristan Jarry is a Surrey, BC native and it shows whenever he plays his home province team. In his career, he's 3-0-0 vs. Vancouver with a fantastic 1.71 goals against average and .941 save percentage. He's trying to rebound tonight from his first loss of the season against Edmonton. There's no better stage for it than at his home arena.

Game Info:

Pens Game #8: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Vancouver Canucks

Date: October 28, 2022

Time: 10 PM (ET)

Place: Vancouver, BC

Venue: Rogers Arena

Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- ESPN+

Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #Canucks

Team Matchup:

Records- PIT: 4-2-1, VAN: 1-5-2

Standings- PIT: 8th, VAN: 31st

Points- PIT: 9, VAN: 4

Goals For/GP- PIT: 4.29 (1st), VAN: 2.88 (25th)

Goals Against/GP- PIT: 3.00 (22nd), VAN: 4.25 (5th)

Shots/GP- PIT: 38.1 (2nd), VAN: 27.8 (27th)

PP% Rank- PIT: 11th (24.1%), VAN: 17th (22.2%)

PK% Rank- PIT: 28th (72.0%), VAN: 32nd (60.0%)

‘21/22 Season Series- 2-0 PIT

‘21/22 Series Goals For- PIT: 8, VAN: 2

Goalie Matchup:

Projected starting goalies-

-Tristan Jarry- #35

[Pittsburgh Penguins]

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: 4-1-0, 2.81 GAA, .923 SV%

Career vs. VAN: 3-0-0, 1.71 GAA, .941 SV%


-Spencer Martin- #30

[Vancouver Canucks]

Bio Info: 6' 2", 198 lbs. DOB: 6/8/1995 (27). From: Oakville, ON.

Drafted: 2013- Rd 3, Pk 63 (COL). Experience: 3rd Season.

Record: 0-0-1, 3.79 GAA, .879 SV%

Career vs. PIT: Debut

Penguins Update:

The Pens are off to a rough start to this road trip at 1-2-0 overall. They're 0-2-0 in the Western Canadian portion of the trip specifically. The Penguins are 8-3-1 against the Canucks in their last 12 games played though and hold a strong record at Rogers Arena of 6-3-0 in their last nine games played there going back to 2011.

Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker skated yesterday but neither is taking full contact and they aren't expected to play tonight.

Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Chad Ruhwedel are still rotating on the bottom defense pairing in practice, it's difficult to say which one will get the start from practice lines alone. That remains the one lineup question for the Pens.

***Updated 4:54 PM: Ruhwedel stayed on the ice after practice for extra skating time per Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which indicates Joseph will play tonight.

-Injury Report-

-Teddy Blueger (F): LTIR, upper body, is out until 11/5 at least.

-Jake Guentzel (F): head, day-to-day.

-Jason Zucker (F): undisclosed, day-to-day.

-Pens Lines-

The projected Penguins lines for Friday, October 28, 2022, at the Vancouver Canucks:


Rickard Rakell - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen - Evgeni Malkin - Jeff Carter

Brock McGinn - Samuel Poulin - Kasperi Kapanen

Drake Caggiula - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald


Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson - Jeff Petry

P.O. Joseph - Jan Rutta

(Special Teams)

PP1: Crosby, Rust, Rakell, Malkin, Letang

PP2: Carter, Poulin, Heinen, Petry, Pettersson

PK1: Poehling, Kapanen Dumoulin, Rutta

PK2: Archibald, McGinn, Petry, Pettersson

Canucks Update:

Things are rough in Vancouver these days. Coach Bruce Boudreau's seat isn't on fire it's a whole five-alarm blaze despite getting his 600th career win yesterday. That defeat of Seattle, in a very close game, was the Canucks' first win of the season in their eighth game played. It potentially came at a high cost as forward (and Pittsburgh native) J.T. Miller was injured in the last seconds of the game after taking a puck to the leg and had to be helped off the ice. His status for tonight is unknown. As the "heart" of the Vancouver locker room, his loss would be significant. That's just the latest element of why the Canucks are a team in tumult in almost every way.

-Offseason Update-

Key players added: Forwards- Andrei Kuzmenko, Curtis Lazar, Ilya Mikheyev.

Key players lost: Forwards- Alex Chiasson, Nic Petan, Brandon Sutter. Defensemen- Brad Hunt. Goalie- Jaroslav Halak.

-Injury Report-

-Curtis Lazar (F): IR, undisclosed, out 3-4 weeks.

-Quinn Hughes (D): IR, lower body, day-to-day.

-Brock Boeser (F): IR, undisclosed, out indefinitely.

-Riley Stillman (D): undisclosed, day-to-day.

-Tucker Poolman (D): LTIR, undisclosed, out indefinitely.

-Travis Dermott (D): IR, concussion, week-to-week.

For The Penguins: Evgeni Malkin. At age 36 and in defiance of naysayers who predicted he was totally washed, Geno is playing tremendous hockey and is currently the emotional engine of the Penguins. When games get tough Malkin steps up to make a statement. He was the Pens' only goal in that tough Calgary outing. He also set up Rust's goal vs. Edmonton and has points in every game this year except for at Columbus. His skating, scoring, and skill are looking better than they have in years. Geno is also second in team points behind Sidney Crosby just like old times. Evgeni Malkin is back!

For The Canucks: Bo Horvat. The Canucks Captain has points in five of seven games played and is one of their few remaining healthy star players. He's tied for the team lead in goals at four with J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson. Plus with only one point in his last three games, he's overdue to return to the scoresheet.


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