PENS GAME #20: PENGUINS VS. STARS
Sidney Crosby enters stage right to return just as the Penguins take on the Stars on Pittsburgh's home ice tonight. The Pens are shooting to end their 4 game loss streak against Dallas. It won't be easy for a Pittsburgh team that's only won 1 game in their last 10 games played.
Pittsburgh Penguins (7-8-4) vs. Dallas Stars (11-8-2) at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA at 7PM (EST)
The Pens take the ice for the second of a pre-Thanksgiving 2-game home-stand tonight, and they'll do so with the added fuel of the returning Sidney Crosby, back after a week out due to a lower body injury. Dallas on the other hand is dealing with the reverse situation, they have just lost one of their most key pieces. Starting goalie Ben Bishop is out, also for about the next week and coincidentally also with a lower body injury which he sustain in the Stars' last game vs. the Rangers.
Pittsburgh desperately need to pounce on this bad fortune for the Stars, and use it to their advantage. They lost yet again on Monday to the Sabres in overtime, blowing a 3 goal lead along the way. Again that makes 4 Ls in a row and 9 of the past 10 games. They're still the Eastern Conference basement dwellers, and only St. Louis and Los Angeles remain worse in the league as a whole. It's the Pittsburgh Penguins' worst stretch in a decade.
The team keeps stressing this is simply a rough patch that can be worked through. But unless they show some signs of cohesion tonight when they finally have a fit 1-2-3 center combo, it will appear like this stretch is more a permanent, long term state than it is a terrible passing anomaly.
So here's what's up...
PENS BULLET POINTS
MATCH-UP INFORMATIONAL BREAKDOWN
Casey DeSmith: 27-years-old, 6’0”/181lb, 1 year NHL Veteran, Undrafted
(Records- 2018-19: 3W-3L-3OTL in 12GP; Last Season: 6W-4L-1OTL in 14GP; Career: 9W-7L-4OTL in 26GP | Goals Against Average- 2018-19: 2.54, Last Season: 2.40; Career: 2.46)
Anton Khudobin: 32-years-old, 5'11"/200lb, 9 year NHL Veteran, 2004 Round 7 Draft Pick (Records- 2018-19: 3W-3L-1OTL in 7GP; Last Season: 16W-6L-7OTL in 31GP; Career: 70W-54L-17OTL in 154GP | Goals Against Average- 2018-19: 2.37; Last Season: 2.56; Career: 2.47)
Penguins: 18 Points, Metropolitan Division- 8th, Eastern Conference- 16th
Stars: 24 Points, Central Division- 5th, Western Conference- 7th
Penguins: 4 Losses
Stars: 1 Loss
Goals For & Against:
Penguins: Goals For- 64; Goals Against- 66
Stars: Goals For- 59; Goals Against- 54
Home vs. Away Records:
Penguins Home Record: 3-5-2
Stars Away Record: 4-5-1
Team Physical Averages:
Penguins: Average Size- 6'1"/199lbs, Average Age- 28.04
Stars: Average Size- 6'2"/204lbs, Average Age- 26.41
Penguins Alumni for DAL: Blake Comeau, Ast. Coach Stu Barnes
Stars Alumni for PIT: Jamie Oleksiak, Ast. GM Bill Guerin
DAL Locals for Penguins: None
PIT Locals for Stars: Stephen Johns (Ellwood City, PA)
-Goals- #1-Kessel (10), #2-Crosby/Hornqvist (8), #3-Malkin (7)
-Assists- #1-Malkin (20), #2-Kessel (14), #3-Crosby (11)
-Points- #1-Malkin (27), #2-Kessel (24), #3- Crosby (19)
-Shots- #1-Hornqvist (63), #2-Kessel/Letang (58), #3-Crosby/Guentzel (47)
-Goals- #1-Radulov (8), #2-Seguin/Benn (7), #3-Klingberg/Shore (5)
-Assists- #1-Seguin (14), #2-Benn/Spezza (10), #3-Klingberg (8)
-Points- #1-Seguin (21), #2-Benn (17), #3-Radulov (15)
-Shots- #1-Seguin (94), #2-Benn (57), #3-Klingberg (43)
-Penguins vs. Stars History-
Cup Count: Pens- 5, Stars- 1
Season Series vs. Stars: 0-0, First game
Last Season Series vs. Stars: 1W-1L (With 6 Goals For, 5 Goals Against)
All-Time Record vs. Stars: 68W-62L-12T-2OTL in 144GP
All-Time Record of Stars at PPG Paints Arena: 2W-4L-0OTL in 6GP
[Based on last game lines, practice lines, announced line-up changes]
Guentzel | Crosby | Hornqvist
Pearson | Malkin | Kessel
Aston-Reese | Brassard | Simon
Rust | Grant | Sheahan
Dumoulin | Letang
Maatta | Riikola
Johnson | Oleksiak
S: DeSmith | B: Murray
(Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel, Daniel Sprong | Injured: Matt Cullen, Justin Schultz.)
CURRENT PERFORMANCE HIGHS/STREAKS
-Derick Brassard has points in 3 of his last 4 games played. (Stretching back pre-injury to his last time playing in October.)
-Sidney Crosby has a 3 game point streak and goals in 2 of his last 3 played. (Stretching back pre-injury to his last time playing on November 13.)
-Jake Guentzel has points in 3 of the last 5 games and goals in 2 of the last 4 games.
-Patric Hornqvist has a 3 game point streak, has points in 4 of the last 5 games, and has goals in 3 of the last 5 games.
-Jack Johnson has a 2 game point streak and points in 4 of the last 6 games.
-Phil Kessel has a 5 game point streak and has goals in 3 of his last 4 games
-Evgeni Malkin has a 4 game point streak and has a 3 game streak of 2 point games.
FINAL NOTES ON THE GAME
-Sidney Crosby's return to the line-up tonight will be first time the Pens have had their top 3 centers (Crosby, Malkin, and Brassard) playing together since October 25th against Calgary.
-Tanner Pearson got his very 1st Penguins goal, and his 1st Pens assist to boot on Monday vs. the Sabres in a 2 point night. It was Pearson's first goal since way back on March 19th of last season and first in 32 games played including the playoffs.
-Evgeni Malkin ended his 6 game penalty streak on Monday.
-Dallas has only ever won 2 games at PPG Paints Arena in the 7+ seasons its been open.
-However, the Stars have won 6 of the last 8 games vs. the Penguins overall.
-Stars' Captain Jamie Benn has 11 points in 14 career games vs. the Pens.
-Fellow Star Tyler Seguin has scored goals in 4 of Dallas' last 6 games and has 8 goals in 21 career games versus the Pens.
EXTRA MISC. THOUGHTS & INFO
*The Pens announced on Monday that they hired the team's former longtime General Manager Craig Patrick as a pro scout. Patrick was last involved in the NHL as a advisor with the Buffalo Sabres.
*Congratulations to Tanner Pearson on the 1st Penguins goal.
*Congrats again to Kris Letang on his 700th and Bryan Rust on his 400th NHL games played markers, reached against Buffalo on Monday.
*I've started producing Pens Report Penguins wallpapers once again for fans to download, as they were so popular in the past. I'll try to create and post new ones on a monthly basis. You can find the first 2 new wallpapers HERE.
For more from Pens Report be sure to follow us on social media too! On Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram.
Have any questions? Suggestions? News tips? For those and any other inquiries you can get in touch with Pens Report by email at email@example.com