The Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling right now, losers of three in a row and five of their last seven. The schedule makers did not choose a favorable match up for them this evening as the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning (16-4-2, 34 points) pay a visit to PPG Paints Arena at 7pm.
The Pens will most likely be without Evgeni Malkin for the third straight game with an upper body injury. Malkin is scheduled to be reevaluated today, but as of this writing, no further info was available.
No need to beat the dead horses of scoring, slow starts, terrible turnovers, or penalty killing issues. Those have been talked about enough over the last few weeks.
Jake Guentzel has three power play goals in two games, Sidney Crosby scored his second in 16 yesterday, and Phil Kessel continues to put in that work, leading the Pens in goals (9), assists (18), and….obviously….points (27)
One thing to keep an eye on is Ian Cole. Cole was a healthy scratch yesterday in Boston. Coach Mike Sullivan hinted that it was a performance based benching for the defenseman. No word on if Sully has watched Kris Letang’s performances as of late…..
Tampa has won the first two games between the clubs so far by scores of 7-1 and 5-4. Both games taking place in Tampa and both games not really close, even the 5-4 game.
The Bolts, looking refreshed and recharged this year after a season of being tired and injury plagued from previous long playoff runs. Led by Nikita Kucherov’s 17 goals and Steven Stamkos with 26 points and 36 points the Lightning can explode for goals in sudden fashion.
Tampa is victim of slow starts lately as well and it cost them Friday night in Washington as they fell to the Caps 3-1.
Will we see a battle of back up netminders tonight? With Matt Murray and Andrew Vasilevskiy both playing Friday, it may be Peter Budaj and Tristan Jarry between the pipes.
Stay tuned to Sports Castle for a recap of tonight’s game.
Thanks for reading.