Penguins at Flames Preview: Feeling The Heat
The Pens try to erase a disastrous game against Edmonton tonight vs. the Flames.
Well, that was a rough one! The Penguins got thoroughly trounced in Edmonton last night for their first tough loss of the season. And the Oilers put up six goals on the Pens at that. The exact number they've been able to drop on opponents three times at the start of this season themselves.
Even more concerning is how many of the Pens' best players melted down in the game. It was a night to forget on defense with Brian Dumoulin, Kris Letang, Marcus Pettersson, and Jeff Petry posting four of the five poorest performance impacts of the night. As seen in Hockey Stat Card's game score charts for the game (click to expand):
The Penguins must rebound immediately in Calgary. They can't afford to allow the mistakes of the Oilers game to become bad habits. That game was simply too much of a mess. If that type of play imprints on them then they're in trouble.
The Flames are a difficult team to face as well so tonight will need a deliberate and massive effort on the Pens' part. It's time for them to make a statement.
The ability to regather quickly after such a disappointing loss will also speak to their current contender status. Are they legit or is there much more work left before the Penguins can hang with these fast, legitimate post-season teams?
To compound problems, the Pens are now 1-4 in their last five away games and the Flames are 10-4 in their last 14 home games. There's a significant home-ice advantage at play for Calgary.
*Late update as of 7:09 PM (EST): Jason Zucker is now sidelined with an injury from the Oilers game after sustaining a crosscheck to the midsection and will not play tonight vs. Calgary. Sam Poulin will make his NHL debut in Zucker's place.
New Day, New Sid Milestone
Crosby is hunting for his 900th career assist tonight vs. the Flames. Sid has seven assists already on the season in six games played so this is a marker he's likely to hit either tonight or in Vancouver on Friday.
Fanning The Flames
Calgary is an extremely capable team so the Penguins will have their hands full Tuesday. The Flames have plenty of star talent and currently boast a 4-1-0 record. They're also seventh in the standings right by the Penguins in sixth, top ten in goals per game played, and third in shots per game. The Flames powerplay is also the sixth-best in the league. Calgary swept the season series vs. the Penguins last year by an overall score of 6-1. This is mostly the same Pens team so new tactics will be in order to successfully solve this problem.
Pens Game #7: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Calgary Flames
Date: October 25, 2022
Time: 9 PM (ET)
Place: Calgary, AB.
Venue: Scotiabank Saddledome
Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- ESPN+
Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #Flames
Records- PIT: 4-1-1, CGY: 4-1-0
Standings- PIT: 6th, CGY: 7th
Points- PIT: 9, CGY: 8
Goals For/GP- PIT: 4.83 (1st), CGY: 3.60 (10th)
Goals Against/GP- PIT: 2.83 (24th), CGY: 3.20 (13th)
Shots/GP- PIT: 39.0 (2nd), CGY: 36.8 (3rd)
PP% Rank- PIT: 13th (25%), CGY: 6th (30%)
PK% Rank- PIT: 27th (72.7%), CGY: 9th (85.7%)
‘21/22 Season Series- 2-0 CGY
‘21/22 Series Goals For- PIT: 1, CGY: 6
Projected starting goalies-
-Casey DeSmith- #1
Bio Info: 6' 0", 181 lbs. DOB: 8/13/1991 (31). From: Rochester, NH.
Drafted: Undrafted; Experience: 5th Season.
Record: 0-0-1, 2.85 GAA, .923 SV%
Career vs. CGY: 0-1-0, 3.06 GAA, .905 SV%
-Jacob Markstrom- #25
Bio Info: 6' 6", 206 lbs. DOB: 1/31/1990 (32). From: Gavle, Sweden.
Drafted: 2008- Rd 2, Pk 31 (FLA). Experience: 12th Season.
Record: 3-0-0, 2.93 GAA, .882 SV%
Career vs. PIT: 5-3-0, 2.11GAA, .937 SV%
After last night’s loss in Edmonton, the Penguins are 1-1-0 on their five-game road trip and 0-1-0 on the Western Canadian/Pacific Northwest portion of the journey. They continue on to Vancouver and Seattle after this stop in Calgary.
Tuesday's meeting vs. the Flames marks the completion of the first set of 17 back-to-back games for the Penguins in 2022-23. The next pair will be on Friday and Saturday against Vancouver and Seattle. The Pens will have a season-high number of six paired games in the month of November.
Defenseman Marcus Pettersson appeared in his 300th NHL game against the Oilers on Monday. 251 of those games have been with the Penguins. Pettersson has eight goals, 65 assists, for 73 points in his career.
-Teddy Blueger (F): LTIR, upper body, out until 11/5 at least.
-Jake Guentzel (F): head, day-to-day.
*Late update as of 7:09 PM (EST): Jason Zucker is now sidelined with an injury from the Oilers game after sustaining a crosscheck to the midsection and will not play tonight vs. Calgary. Sam Poulin will make his NHL debut in Zucker's place. The Penguins have announced that Zucker's status is currently day-to-day.
The projected Penguins lines for Tuesday, October 25, 2022, at the Calgary Flames:
Danton Heinen - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
*Sam Poulin - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Drake Caggiula - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald
*Updated as of 7:09 PM (EST)
Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson - Jeff Petry
P.O. Joseph - Jan Rutta
PP1: Crosby, Rust, Malkin, Letang, Petry
PP2: Carter, *TBD, Rakell, Heinen, Joseph
PK1: Carter, Archibald, Dumoulin, Rutta
PK2: Poehling, Kapanen, Petry, Pettersson
The Flames have pulled off the improbable: they did a wholesale exchange of their star players over the summer and still are just as competitive as they were last season. Former star Johnny Gaudreau left in free agency. And Matthew Tkachuk followed via a trade request. Most organizations would be rocked by that much talent deciding to up and run at once. Instead, the Flames front office instantly rebounded and quickly brought in Stanley Cup Champion Nazem Kadri, and bonafide stars Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar in their spots as new recruits. A large talent-in, talent-out conversion on that level rarely happens this seamlessly but Calgary remains very competitive with just one defeat on the year at 4-1-0.
New Flame Nazem Kadri is the current Calgary team leader in production with six points (2G, 4A) in five games played. Historically Kadri hasn't played well against Pittsburgh however with just four goals in 25 career games against them.
Fellow newcomer Jonathan Huberdeau is still looking for his first goal as a Flame but has four assists in five games and is one player the Pens should watch out for as he can’t be expected to remain off the scoreboard for much longer. Huberdeau is looking to prove a point to the Panthers who traded him in the offseason in return for Tkachuk: that he wasn't expendable. So the emotional component driving him is a powerful motivation that Pittsburgh needs to be aware of. Huberdeau has 15 points (5G, 10A) in 25 career games vs. the Penguins as well so he has a knack for excelling against them.
Key players added: Forwards- Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Kevin Rooney. Defensemen- MacKenzie Weegar.
Key players lost: Forwards- Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Calle Jarnkrok, Sean Monahan. Defensemen- Erik Gudbranson.
None. (Oliver Kylington is technically on injured reserve while on personal leave.)
For The Penguins: Sidney Crosby. Yes, it continues! There’s simply no other choice. Sidney Crosby now has 11 points in six games played this year. He’s been able to collect a point in all but one game. He’s also had goals in four out of six games and registered a three-point game on three different occasions. Sid even managed to score a goal in the ugly loss to Edmonton on Monday. It's completely Crosby at the moment for the Penguins.
For The Flames: Mikael Backlund. Backlund has only two goals for the Flames this year but always plays well against the Penguins and is leading Calgary in shots with 20. This means he’s overdue. It’s a strong possibility he’ll be able to find the back of the net tonight against a team he favors.