Senators vs. Penguins Preview: The Sequel
The Pens and Sens' home and home series shifts to the Steel City.
One game of progress in overtime for the Penguins was followed by one game of setbacks. They fell to the Senators 5-4 in OT on Wednesday right after they seem to make a breakthrough in their ability to close during in sudden death against Anaheim to start the week.
This is typical for the up-and-down fortune of the Pens lately. But they'll immediately get another chance to avenge the loss against the Senators at home on Friday.
To do that they'll have to minimize penalties, which sealed their fate against Ottawa. The Senators got nine power plays and scored on four of them. They went from the league's sixth-best power play unit to the fourth-best from the production they were able to generate in that game alone. The win slipped away from Pittsburgh due to the failures on the penalty kills alone. It was an especially tough pill for the Pens to swallow considering they're the number three PK unit in the league but 18 minutes spent defending the man advantage was too long to manage. And Head Coach Mike Sullivan made his thoughts on the penalty call volume clear with uncharacteristic speechlessness post-game:
Staying out of the penalty box needs to be the team's primary concern on Friday. Several of the calls the Penguins garnered in the first game were more self-inflicted than legitimate penalties. Bryan Rust's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Jeff Carter's very costly double minor for being careless with controlling his stick comes to mind in particular as easily avoidable.
In much better news, the Pens might have some additional help when they take the ice tonight. Jeff Petry took full practice this morning and was slotted into the power play units, a strong indication he may be ready to return to play for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury against Buffalo on December 10th.
Tristan Jarry also was a full participant in the gameday skate and was the first goalie off the ice. This signals he'll likely also make his much-needed return after suffering a lower-body injury in the Winter Classic on January 2nd.
More info on the rest of the team's status is in the Penguins update section.
Here's a review of the Pens' performances from game one vs. the Senators via Hockey Stat Cards to refresh you on the team's individual efforts ahead of tonight's rematch as well (click to expand):
Pens Game #45: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators
Date: January 20, 2023
Time: 7 PM (ET)
Place: Pittsburgh, PA
Venue: PPG Paints Arena
Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- NHLN
Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #Sens
Records- PIT: 22-15-7, OTT: 20-21-3
Last 10- PIT: 3-5-2, OTT: 5-5-0
Streaks- PIT: 1 Loss, OTT: 1 Win
Standings- PIT: 16th, OTT: 25th
Points- PIT: 51, OTT: 43
Season Series- 1-0 OTT
Series Goals For- PIT: 4, OTT: 5
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: 15-5-4, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%
Career vs. OTT: 2-0-0, 3.00 GAA, .913 SV%
-CAM TALBOT- #33
Bio Info: 6' 4", 196 lbs. DOB: 7/5/1987 (35). From: Caledonia, ON.
Drafted: Undrafted. Experience: 10th Season.
Record: 11-12-1, 2.91 GAA, .903 SV%
Career vs. PIT: 2-3-4, 3.39 GAA, .895 SV%
The Penguins have better odds on home ice against Ottawa. They've won 10 consecutive games against the Sens at PPG Paints Arena.
Tonight is the first time Penguins' defenseman P.O. Joseph will face his brother Mathieu of the Senators in the NHL. The Joseph family traveled to Pittsburgh for the special occasion. Mathieu plays wing on the third line and P.O. is obviously the Penguins' third-line defenseman so the brothers should see a lot of each other one-on-one.
More bad news on the injury front came from the gameday skate as Kasperi Kapanen was inexplicably absent after putting together some stronger performances recently. The team later updated that he is out "week-to-week" with a lower body. It's not apparent when it was sustained as he did not have any kind of visible incident in the last game. Danton Heinen took Kapanen's spot in the Pens' lines. That gives Heinen the opportunity to potentially redeem himself after being benched as a healthy scratch of late.
We got some new developments on the progress of the injured Pens. Kris Letang (lower body) and Josh Archibald (lower body) skated individually before joining the rest of the group at team practice. Both men are still wearing non-contact jerseys. Ryan Poehling (upper body) took part as a full-contact participant. He did not skate in line rushes but was later termed a game-time decision for Friday anyway. Jan Rutta (upper body) did not practice due to his upper-body injury and has been ruled out for Friday's game.
-Josh Archibald (F): lower body, day-to-day.
-Tristan Jarry (G): lower body, game-time decision.
-Kasperi Kapanen (F): lower body, week-to-week.
-Kris Letang (D): IR, lower body, day-to-day.
-Jeff Petry (D): IR, upper body, game-time decision.
-Ryan Poehling (F): upper body, game-time decision.
-Jan Rutta (D): upper body, out.
The projected Penguins lines for Friday, January 20, 2023, vs. the Ottawa Senators:
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Drew O'Connor - Teddy Blueger- Jeff Carter
Brock McGinn - Jonathan Gruden - Danton Heinen
Brian Dumoulin - Ty Smith
Marcus Pettersson - Mark Friedman/Jeff Petry
P. O. Joseph - Chad Ruhwedel
PP1: Petry, Malkin, Crosby, Guentzel, Rakell
PP2: Smith Rust, Zucker, Carter, Heinen
PK1: Blueger, McGinn, Dumoulin, Rutta
PK2: Carter, Rust, Ruhwedel, Pettersson
Recapping, four Senators in particular really made an impact in game one: Brady Tkachuk (1G, 3A), Tim Stutzle (1G, 1A), Drake Batherson (1G, 1A), and Thomas Chabot (3A) all had multi-point games. That's a very appealing team core Ottawa has for the future.
Josh Norris returned from injury for the Sens last game. So Ottawa's numbers of missing regulars are down to just two men, listed below. Unlike the Pens, they're playing with an almost fully healthy roster.
-Rourke Chartier (F): IR, upper-body, undisclosed.
-Tyler Motte (F): IR, finger, week-to-week.
For The Penguins: Rickard Rakell. Rakell continues to pick up in his production of late. After scoring in Ottawa he now has five points in the last three games and points in four of the last five overall. The Jason Zucker-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell line as a whole is dominating right now. They scored three of the Penguins' four goals on Wednesday. Malkin has five points in the last two games and Zucker has three. They're really kicking their play into overdrive to step up for the Pens during the team's recent rough patch.
For The Senators: Brady Tkachuk. For the second game in a row, Tkachuk is the one to watch for Ottawa. He made the Pens feel some pain in the opener of this series by dropping four points (1G, 3A) at once. Tkachuk wrapped up his productive evening by scoring the game-winning overtime goal to seal the Senators' victory.