• Owen Robinson

Pens Preview Game 1- Coyotes vs. Penguins: History Here They Come

The Penguins Start A Historic Season As "The Big Three" Begin The Quest For A Fourth Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Arizona Coyotes' Clayton Keller

Welcome to the 2022-23 NHL season! This is quite a momentous occasion for the Pittsburgh Penguins. With their dynasty players intact, the Pens start this year by making history by tying the record for the longest-tenured trio of teammates playing together on one team in all of the four major professional sports leagues. This is the 17th season with the "Big Three", Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang, playing alongside each other.


They're trying to undertake an equally groundbreaking quest to win a fourth Stanley Cup with the same team core too. A history ensuring feat that would overtake their current three Cups (along with those of Boston and Chicago) as the league's benchmark for post-lockout success. This season is easily the most historic since the Penguins' 50th anniversary year in 2016-17 when they celebrated that landmark milestone and just happened to bring home their fifth team Cup as a finale to cap it all off. That leaves just one question for this year- can these players rise to the task once again and give 2022-23 the storybook ending that everything Pens fan dreams will come true?


The journey to answer that question starts tonight at PPG Paints Arena vs. the Arizona Coyotes. It's been way too long since we've done this, so let's jump right in:


New Year, New Faces

Making their Penguins debuts tonight are high-profile off-season additions Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta on defense. Petry was acquired in the Mike Matheson trade from Montreal. Rutta is coming off of three straight trips to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Tampa Bay Lightning including two back-to-back Cup wins. Former Penguin Josh Archibald will re-debut for the first time since returning to the team after playing several seasons with Arizona and Edmonton.


Ice vs. Heat

-Pittsburgh has won eight straight games against the Coyotes.

-The Penguins have won seven straight games vs. the Coyotes at home and are 13-5-0 all-time against them at PPG Paint Arena.

-They also swept last season’s series against Arizona 2-0 and by a margin of 10-4 in goals.


GAME INFO

Pens Game #1: 2022 Home Opener- Penguins vs. Coyotes

Date: Thursday, October 13, 2022

Time: 7 PM (ET)

Place: Pittsburgh, PA

Venue: PPG Paints Arena

Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- ESPN+

Social Media Hashtags #: #Pens #LetsGoPens


TEAM MATCHUP

2021-22 Team Results:

Records- PIT: 46-25-11, ARI: 25-50-7

League Standing- PIT: 12th, ARI: 31st

Points- PIT: 103, ARI: 57

Goals For- PIT: 269 (11th), ARI: 206 (32nd)

Goals Against- PIT: 222 (28th), ARI: 309 (3rd)

Shots/GP- PIT: 34.7 (6th), ARI: 25.9 (32nd)

PP Rank- PIT: 19th (20.2%), ARI: 30th (13.9%)

PK Rank- PIT: 3rd (84.4%), ARI: 28th (75%)

Season Series- 2-0 PIT

Series Goals For- PIT: 10, ARI: 4


PLAYER MATCHUP

[Stat Leaders By Team]

PIT Stat Leaders vs. ARI-

Points- Sidney Crosby, 5

Goals- Sidney Crosby, 3

Assists- Bryan Rust, 3

Plus/Minus- Kris Letang/Brian Dumoulin, +4

Shots- Sidney Crosby, 10

ARI Stat Leaders vs. PIT-

Points- Clayton Keller/Nick Schmaltz, 3

Goals- Clayton Keller/Nick Schmaltz, 2

Assists- Clayton Keller/Nick Schmaltz/Shane Gostisbehere/Travis Boyd, 1

Plus/Minus- Clayton Keller, +3

Shots- Lawson Crouse, 4


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

2021-22 Record: 34-18-6 (8th)

2021-22 Stats: 2.42 GAA (6th), .919 SV% (T-6th), 4 SOs (T-6th)

Career vs. ARI: 4-0, 1.72 GAA, .928 SV%

🆚

-KAREL VEJMELKA- #70

[Arizona Coyotes]

Bio Info: 6'3", 202 lbs. DOB: 5/25/1996 (26). From: Trebic, Czechia.

Drafted: 2015- Rd 5, Pk 145 (NSH); Experience: 2nd Season

2021-22 Record: 13-32-3 (T-39th)

2021-22 Stats: 3.68 GAA (51st), .898 SV% (T-42nd), 1 SO (T-36th)

Career vs. PIT: 0-1, 6.01 GAA, .833 SV%


PENGUINS UPDATE

-Off-Season Update-

A primer on the players who left or signed with the Penguins over the summer:

Key players added: Forwards- Ryan Poehling, Josh Archibald, Drake Caggiula. Defensemen- Jeff Petry, Jan Rutta, Ty Smith (assigned to the AHL). Goalie- Dustin Tokarski (assigned to the AHL).

Key players lost: Forwards- Evan Rodrigues. Defensemen- Mike Matheson, John Marino. Goalie- Louis Domingue.


-Penguins Lines-

The projected Pens lines for Thursday, October 13th vs. the Arizona Coyotes:


(Forwards)

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen

Brock McGinn - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald


(Defense)

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson - Jeff Petry

Pierre-Olivier Joseph - Jan Rutta


(Special Teams)

PP1: Crosby, Guentzel, Rust, Malkin, Letang

PP2: Carter, Rakell, Heinen, Zucker, Petry

PK1: Poehling, McGinn, Dumoulin, Rutta

PK2: Kapanen, Archibald, Pettersson, Joseph


Kasperi Kapanen and Pierre-Olivier Joseph are two new faces to the Pens PK, which is something to keep an eye on going forward. The Penguins' penalty-killing unit was the league’s third-best overall last year so a high level of performance is expected.


-Injury Report-

The Penguins will be playing with a nearly fully healthy line-up tonight as the only injury they face heading into the season opener is to Teddy Blueger. Blueger remains out on a day-to-day basis with an unknown upper-body injury. He has yet to take contact in practice which is a prerequisite to returning to play. Debuting Pen Ryan Poehling will fill-in for him as the fourth-line centerman.


-Additional Notes-

This is the most complete Pens lineup they’ve had since January of last season due to injuries. This gives us a rough look at the purpose-built shape of this team for the first time in General Manager Ron Hextall’s regime.


The only surprise on the Pens roster is the presence of Pierre-Olivier Joseph on the third defensive pair. Joseph seemingly made the team by default as he would need to hit waivers to be sent to the minor leagues. Instead of risking losing the 23-year-old, the Penguins’ sent Ty Smith down to the AHL instead. Smith appeared to win POJ’s position in camp but is new to the organization and has a waivers exempt contract. This is not expected to remain the scenario with Smith permanently, however. It’s very likely we see him back in the Burgh before Christmas.


OPPONENT UPDATE

-Arizona lost a lot of talent over the summer and through injuries their biggest star player to watch tonight is young 24-year-old Clayton Keller. Keller scored 28 goals with 35 assists in 67 games played last season with the team averaging just shy of a point per game.


-The Coyotes have some real bite this year with Zack Kassian and Liam O’Brien in their lineup. They both have infamous reputations as agitating players and it’s not a coincidence they’re each on the team. Arizona seems to be trying to set a new, more bruising identity judging by both those additions. That’s a new dynamic to this matchup that Penguins' star players will have to be mindful to be aware of when on ice.


-Offseason Update-

A primer on the players who left or signed with the Coyotes over the summer:

-Key players added: Forwards- Nick Bjugstad, Zack Kassian. Defensemen- Josh Brown, Patrik Nemeth, Troy Stecher.

-Key players lost: Forwards- Jay Beagle, Phil Kessel, Antoine Roussel. Defensemen- Kyle Capobianco, Anton Stralman.


-Injury Report-

Jakob Churchyn is out for the Yotes due to injury. He’s their biggest loss by a mile right now. However, goalie Jonas Johansson, forward Andrew Ladd, and Ben McCarthy are also sidelined.


MILESTONE WATCH

[Upcoming Player Achievements]

-Evgeni Malkin (1,146) is 4 points away from 1,150 career points.

-Brian Dumoulin (114) is 6 points away from 200 career points.

-Teddy Blueger (82) is 8 points away from 90 career points.

-Sidney Crosby (892) is 8 assists away from 900 career assists.

-Rickard Rakell (194) is 6 assists away from 200 career assists.

-Brian Dumoulin (96) is 4 assists away from 100 career assists.

-Bryan Rust (146) is 4 assists away from 150 career assists.

-Bryan Rust (124) is 1 goal away from 125 career goals.

-Kris Letang (144) is 1 goal away from 145 career goals.

 

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