The Penguins need a crucial win against the third-place Devils to bolster their playoff chances.
There are five games left in the season but tonight's tilt against the Devils is absolutely vital to the playoff lives of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Moneypuck's proprietary playoff odds calculations show the importance that a win against New Jersey has. Tonight's outcome has the ability to swing the Penguins' post-season chances by a measure of 30% in this single game:
If the Pens beat the Devils in regulation time their playoff odds are at 78%. A loss to the Devils in regulation and those odds drop to several points below 50: 47.6%.
In essence, the season is on the line in one single game. And a game against a team they have not beaten all year and who has outscored them by 11-5 in their three prior meetings. This is a big one, folks. You better buckle up!
Pens Game #78: Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils
Date: April 4, 2023
Time: 7 PM (ET)
Place: Newark, NJ
Venue: Prudential Center
Penguins Broadcast: AT&T Sportsnet
Devils Broadcast: MSG Network
Canadian Broadcast: SNW, SNP, TVAS
Online Stream: ESPN+
Penguins Radio: 105.9 The X/Penguins Radio Network
Devils Radio: Devils Hockey Net
Records- PIT: 38-29-10, NJD: 48-21-8
Last 10- PIT: 4-6-0, NJD: 4-4-2
Streaks- PIT: 1 Win, NJD: 1 Loss
Standings- PIT: 17th, NJD: 3rd
Points- PIT: 86, NJD: 104
PIT: Eastern Conference #8, 2nd Eastern Wildcard spot.
NJD: Eastern Conference #3, Clinched 2nd Metropolitan Division playoff spot.
Season Series- 3-0 NJD
Series Goals For- PIT: 5, NJD: 11
Team Analytics Comparison:
Projected 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: 22-11-6, 2.93 GAA, .909 SV%
Career vs. NJD: 6-4-2, 2.86 GAA, .908 SV%
-Vitek Vanecek- #41
[New Jersey Devils]
Bio Info: 6' 2", 184 lbs. DOB: 1/9/1996 (27). From: Havlickuv Brod, Czechia.
Drafted: 2014- Rd 2, Pk 39 (WSH). Experience: 3rd Season.
Record: 30-11-4, 2.52 GAA, .908 SV%
Career vs. PIT: 6-1-3, 2.65 GAA, .911 SV%
The four injured Pens (Bonino, Kulikov, Pettersson, Rutta) skated in a separate after practice. While Jan Rutta and Marcus Pettersson both were able to join the team in the game-day skate in non-contact jerseys. Coach Sullivan reported to DKPS' Taylor Haase he expects all four to be able to return before the end of the regular season.
Alexander Nylander (F) was sent down to the AHL once again yesterday. He had been a healthy scratch in recent games and wasn't expected to have a chance to return to the lineup as more regulars get healthy.
The Pens swept the season series vs. Flyers on Sunday and are now looking to stop the Devils from doing the same to them. New Jersey has outscored Pittsburgh by 11-5 so far in 2022-23. If the Devils manage to sweep the series over the Pens it will be the first time that's happened in over a decade, the last time was in 2009-10.
NEXT UP: The Pens face the Wild, who just booked their playoff trip last night, at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday. Then they head to Detroit once again to face the Red Wings on Saturday.
-Nick Bonino (F): LTIR, lacerated kidney, out until 4/4.
-Dmitry Kulikov (D): LTIR, lower body, out until 4/6.
-Marcus Pettersson (D): LTIR, lower body, week-to-week.
-Jan Rutta (D): lower body, week-to-week
The projected Penguins lines for Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at the New Jersey Devils:
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Ryan Poehling - Mikael Granlund
Drew O’Connor - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
P.O. Joseph - Jeff Petry
Mark Friedman - Chad Ruhwedel
PP1: Letang, Malkin, Crosby, Rakell, Guentzel
PP2: Joseph, Zucker, Rust, Granlund, Carter
PK1: Poehling, Rust, Dumoulin, Petry
PK2: Granlund, Archibald, Ruhwedel, Letang
Nathan Bastein will return from injury today for New Jersey. Yegor Sharanovich will be a healthy scratch, in a corresponding move.
-Trade Deadline Movements-
Key players added: Forwards- Timo Meier. Defense- Scott Harrington.
Key players lost: Forwards- Andreas Johnsson, Fabian Zetterlund. Defense- Nikita Okhotiuk.
-2022-23 Devils Team Leaders vs. Penguins-
Goals: Dougie Hamilton, Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes- 3.
Assists: Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Dawson Mercer- 3.
Points: Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes- 6.
Plus/Minus: Dawson Mercer- +4.
PIM: Kevin Bahl, Ryan Graves, Erik Haula- 4.
Shots: Dougie Hamilton, Jack Hughes- 12.
Hits: Kevin Bahl- 10
Blocks: Brendan Smith- 9.
Takeaways: Erik Haula- 3.
Faceoff %: Michael McLeod- 73.3%.
-Jonathan Bernier (G): LTIR, hip, out for season.
-Curtis Lazar (F): lower body, day-to-day.
For The Penguins: Rickard Rakell. Ricky is getting downright tricky just as the playoff push kicks into overdrive. Rakell has six points in the last five games including two goals in the win over the Flyers. He'd had two, two-point nights in his last four games. After being blanked on the Penguins Central Division road trip a few weeks ago Raks has been a total rockstar and it couldn't have come at a more critical time for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
For The Devils: Jack Hughes. At 21 years old Jack Hughes has already cracked 40 goals this season, his first time meeting that milestone in his career. He's on a three-game point streak and has six goals in his last five games played. Hughes is also the co-leaders in goals, assists, and points for New Jersey against Pittsburgh this year with three goals and six points in just three games played. He is one dangerous Devil and must be defended closely.