TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
Chipped Ice

January 23, 2015
by Jason Mackey


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Penguins Roundtable IV

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

COLUMBUS — Talking pucks for the fourth time on the Penguins Roundtable show earlier today on TribLIVE Radio.

Ken Laird and Josh Yohe did the heavy lifting. I only chimed in (and whined about the cannon at Nationwide Arena).

You can hear the entire hour here. And, really, we hope that you check this out.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 22, 2015
by Jason Mackey


One comment so far - add yours!

Postgame: Blackhawks 3, Penguins 2 (SO)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Penguins didn’t lack for chances in this one.

Whether it was David Perron missing an empty net in the third period or his golden chance off a Sidney Crosby feed, the Penguins very easily could have come away with two points instead of one.

Also misses in the shootout for Perron and Crosby that ultimately resulted in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It’s frustrating,” Perron said. “Had the game on my stick a couple times there. One in regulation. You have to put that one away. Eight times out of 10 I probably put that in. In the shootout, I had some room there, and I hit the post.”

Perron, Crosby and Chris Kunitz were especially productive as a line. The Penguins attempted 63 shots to 55 for Chicago, the NHL’s shots leader. That line was responsible for 21 of those attempts and 11 of the Penguins’ 35 shots on goal.

“Certainly tonight we had so many chances,” Perron said. “As a line, you feel like you could have had four or five goals. Tonight it was zero, and other nights it will be all five of them. We’ve just got to keep doing the same thing. They’re going to go in.”

>>Following the game, the Penguins reassigned forward Andrew Ebbett and defensemen Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, the thinking being to get those guys some games.

>>One focal point coming out of the break will be special teams play. The Penguins’ penalty kill has allowed power-play goals in four straight, a season-high stretch, including one goal tonight.

Defenseman Rob Scuderi liked the PK’s effort against the Flyers on Tuesday. Tonight, too. Now, they have some “details” to clean up after a four-day break.

“You want to clean up the details,” Scuderi said. “I think they shot through a screen tonight. Usually we have that one blocked or come up with a save. Those things happen. The PK has been pretty good. Hopefully after a little break we’ll get back on track.”

>>No word on whether Evgeni Malkin will be able to take part in all-star festivities. Coach Mike Johnston said Malkin was still being evaluated, and that a decision will be made after consulting with doctors and management.

>>Johnston was pleased with the depth scoring tonight, getting goals from Zach Sill and Steve Downie. No mention was made of Sill’s celebration, which nearly took poor Bryan Bickell’s face off.

“Our depth was really good tonight,” Johnston said. “Some of the young defensemen, Pouliot and Harrington, the way they played tonight, those are really positive signs.”

Sill, I thought, provided plenty of energy. He finished with a game-high seven hits. Linemate Craig Adams added six.

That’s it for me from Consol. Off tomorrow before heading to Columbus. Will talk to you from there.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 21, 2015
by Jason Mackey


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Pregame: Penguins vs. Blackhawks, 8 p.m.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How important is this one? Well, pretty important. Pretty tough, too.

The Chicago Blackhawks, as you’ve probably realized, are good at hockey. Check out these rankings:

Goals per game: 3.05 (5th)
Goals-against per game: 2.28 (2nd)
Shots per game: 35.6 (1st)
Shots-against per game: 29.7 (18th)
PP: 18.6 (15th)
PK: 88.2 (2nd)

So, the Penguins can barrel into the all-star break with a win over one of the NHL’s premier teams.

Or they can limp there with a four-game losing streak.

Yeah, pretty big one.

“They’ve been generating a lot of shots,” coach Mike Johnston said of Chicago this morning following an optional morning skate. “They’re a dangerous team in transition. Their defense are very active. They have four of the better defensemen in the league. We’ve got to work our matchups to try and really work their group. But it’s transition opportunities. It’s offensive zone. It’s controlling their defense. Those are the real keys to the game tonight.”

Ton of talk this morning about last night. About the Flyers and their Flyerdom. About Zac Rinaldo, his hit, his Flyerdom and what he said after. About a response.

They Penguins showed more fight than in back-to-back losses to the Islanders and Rangers, that’s for sure, but they failed to score on six power-play chances and tempted fate one too many times with penalties of their own.

Won’t be smart tonight.

Chicago is 8 for 37 over its past 11 games on the power play, a conversion rate of 21.6 percent. Their PK, however, has been uncharacteristically leaky, with power-play goals allowed in four of six; the Blackhawks have killed just 12 of 16 (75 percent) during that stretch.

“We want some momentum heading into the all-star break,” Johnston said. “We’ve got to regroup, recover and get ready for a tough team in Chicago.”

News out of the skate: Defenseman Kris Letang skated but wasn’t available to reporters afterward. His status for tonight will be a game-time decision, Johnston said. … Defenseman Simon Despres is out with an illness, his second consecutive missed games. … Eight skated this morning for the Penguins: forwards Mark Arcobello, Zach Sill, Andrew Ebbett and Marcel Goc, defensemen Letang and Scott Harrington and goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Thomas Greiss. … Blackhawks did not skate here, but coach Joel Quenneville will be available to reporters at 6 p.m.

TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network/105.9 FM

About the Blackhawks: Blackhawks are coming off a 6-1 win over the Coyotes on Tuesday, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Andrew Shaw, after being benched for part of Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Stars, scored two goals. Goaltender Antti Raanta made 35 of 36 saves to improve to 7-0 this season and 14-0-2 over the past two seasons at United Center. … Gibsonia native Brandon Saad has five goals over his past five games, eight in his past 11 and 15 on the season, ranking second on the Blackhawks. … Patrick Kane scored his 200th goal Tuesday. … Chicago has the best goal differential (+39) in the NHL, and its 51 first-period goals are second only to the Penguins’ 53.

The series: The teams split 1-1 in 2013-14. … Penguins went 0 for 8 on the power play and were outshot, 66-59. … Pittsburgh is 4-1-2 over its past seven against Chicago. … Goaltender Corey Crawford is 2-1 all-time against the Penguins, with a 1.96 goals-against average. … Penguins are unbeaten in their last 10 games at home against the Blackhawks, a streak that dates back to 1997.

Next up: Tuesday, Jan. 27 vs. Jets, 7 p.m.

Links:
The Trib’s Penguins page
The Penguins’ home page
The Blackhawks’ home page
NHL.com’s preview and box score

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 21, 2015
by Mike Palm


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

In aftermath of Letang hit, here’s a closer look at Rinaldo’s suspension history

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A hit by Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang last night could merit a suspension from the NHL. Rinaldo’s already been suspended twice by the NHL.

Here’s the hit on Letang:

Rinaldo’s suspension history

Feb. 13, 2012 — Rinaldo was suspended 2 games for charging Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.

Here’s the charge:

Here’s the NHL’s announcement:

April 7, 2014 — Rinaldo was suspended four games for a hit to head of Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.

Here’s the hit:

Here’s the NHL announcement:

For what it’s worth, Rinaldo also has a history with the Penguins, getting a game misconduct for cross checking Zbynek Michalek in a 10-3 loss to the Penguins in the 2012 playoffs.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 19, 2015
by Jason Mackey


One comment so far - add yours!

Leftovers from a chat with the coach

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Mike Johnston sees it, too.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston

Penguins coach Mike Johnston

The Penguins have not played their best hockey over the past dozen games, a stretch where they’re 4-6-2.

The coach especially isn’t a fan of the past two, lopsided losses to the Islanders and Rangers.

“I didn’t like our last two games,” Johnston said by phone before the Penguins flew to Philadelphia. “I liked the first period of the Islanders game, for sure. Not the finish and (Sunday) afternoon, I didn’t think we had it at all, in any area of our game.”

The Penguins unexpectedly canceled practice Monday and instead had an off-ice workout. Many thanks to the Penguins media relations staff of Jen Bullano and Jason Seidling for getting Johnston on the phone. And thanks for him for doing it. Was very insightful and helpful in terms of providing quality coverage to you folks.

Got to ask Johnston about how crucial of a two-game stretch this is coming up: Tuesday at Philadelphia, Wednesday at home against the Blackhawks. I used part of his answer for Tuesday’s print-edition story, but I thought I might offer a little bit additional on here.

“For me, everything is about how we’re playing,” Johnston said. “Sometimes you may not come out on the right side of the score or sometimes you will. It’s still how you’re playing. That’s what you have to keep in focus as a coach: You may win some games. You may have a five-game winning streak. But how you’re playing may not be exactly the right way to be successful.

“Or you could be in a situation where you’ve lost a couple games in a row, and you’re actually doing some good things so you know you’re going to come out of it.”

Johnston and I talked about the impact of losing Patric Hornqvist and Blake Comeau, and I truly feel that’s what a lot of the recent struggles track back to. They’re tough. They play in front of the net. They lighten the load for other not-to-physical players.

Johnston likes the punch that Zach Sill brings. Bobby Farnham, too. But neither of them add much offensively. Hornqvist and Comeau do.

“Those are two key pieces and guys who have had great first halves for the team,” Johnston said. “Losing both of them at the same time, that was challenging for us.”

I also asked Johnston about his thinking behind playing Mark Arcobello with Evgeni Malkin on Sunday. I didn’t get it and still don’t.

Arcobello actually froze when Malkin fed him, wide-open, in the slot. Clammed up, unsure what to do. Another time, when Arcobello tried to work in front of the net, a Rangers defender knocked him over with a single whack.

He might turn out to be a fine fourth-line player, but those are two instances where Comeau thrived: Chemistry with Malkin, especially thinking at his speed and keeping it simple, and playing physical in front of the net.

“With Geno, the type of player we try to get with him is someone who can make plays, be a complementary player that way,” Johnston said. “It’s harder to play Farnham or Sill. Those are energy guys who are playing depth roles.

“Arcobello has eight goals so far. I don’t really know him as a player. I’m trying to see what he can do as a player. Comeau or Hornqvist would definitely be playing with Geno as they had been before.”

Hope you can read what I wrote for print. It’s worth your 50 cents, trust me.

Fellow beat man Josh Yohe has the club Tuesday in Philly. In case there’s one person out there who doesn’t follow Josh, his Twitter handle is @JoshYohe_Trib. I’ll be back for the Blackhawks game on Wednesday.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 17, 2015
by Jason Mackey


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Penguins Roundtable III

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Earlier Friday, Josh Yohe, Ken Laird and I talked about pucks for the third installment of the Penguins Roundtable show.

Take a listen here.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 14, 2015
by Jason Mackey


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Postgame: Penguins 7, Wild 2

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

There was plenty that didn’t make Wednesday’s print story off of the Penguins’ 7-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

For one, I only covered the news aspect of Ryan Suter’s elbow to the chin of Pittsburgh’s Steve Downie, which will net Suter a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s what Suter had to say after:

“I reached for the puck,” Suter explained. “I kind of poked it, then I went to put my hand (up on the stick) and he, like ran into … I hope he’s alright,” Suter said. “Obviously, that’s not the type of player I am. It was kind of a fluky-type thing. He kind of just brushed my arm, my elbow as he went by.

“I poked for (the puck), and then I went to get my stick. Like I said, I hope he’s alright. That’s not the type of player I am. I personally never want to see anyone get hurt, whether it’s our team or any other team. It’s not the part of the game that makes it exciting.

“I just told (Sidney Crosby after the period), I said, ‘Sid, you know the kind of guy I am.’ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ So I just asked him to say sorry, and hopefully (Downie) is alright.”

Coach Mike Johnston said assistants Gary Agnew and Rock Tocchet argued that it was a high, illegal elbow — to no available. Johnston also explained that he approached referee Tim Peel between periods to drive the point home.

“(Peel) said they didn’t see it,” Johnston said. “They didn’t see it on the ice. It happened so fast that our bench didn’t even see it.

“I’ll have to take a look at it, but I’m sure the league will review any of those situations.”

A few numbers: The Penguins are 17-1-1 when recording a power-play goal; they’ve killed off 19 consecutive penalties; and they swept the season series against Minnesota for the first time.

Another noteworthy aspect to come out of Tuesday was how happy these guys were for Zach Sill to get his first NHL point. In his 48th game.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury admitted to harassing Sill — no doubt making it a race to 1. But he, like David Perron, conceded they were pretty happy for Sill.

“I’ve only known him for a week and a half, and I was really happy for him,” Perron said.

Solid goal, too. And Sill kept the play alive with some fine stick work, enough to get it to Marcel Goc, who poked home the rebound.

Here’s a gem of a Zach Parise quote coming out of the Minnesota room: “We’re so easy to play against,” Parise said. “The detail of our game is terrible. Just tic-tac-toe right around us.”

It appears as though Christian Ehrhoff will be fine after absorbing a knee-on-thigh hit late.

“It didn’t feel too good, but I’m OK,” Ehrhoff said.

Penguins practice tomorrow at noon at Consol. I’ll be there. Josh has Mario fantasy camp game at night.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 13, 2015
by Jason Mackey


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Pregame: Penguins vs. Wild, 7 p.m.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Give the Penguins this: They’re saying all the right things.

The Minnesota Wild are a mess right now. Coach Mike Yeo could be fired if this thing doesn’t turn around. Same for general manager Chuck Fletcher.

But nobody on the Penguins wants to take Minnesota, which will visit Consol Energy Center tonight at 7, for granted.

“To look at their record and how they’ve been struggling of late isn’t a testament to how good their team is and the type of players that they have,” defenseman Paul Martin said. “We can’t take them lightly. We have to expect a good game, a hard game from them and be ready to play.”

Minnesota has lost five in a row, 11 of 13 and 16 of 23 to fall to last place in the Central Division and 12th in the Western Conference. Their power play is 25th at 14.3 percent, and they’re averaging just 2.93 goals per game, which ranks 24th.

Defenseman Kris Letang doesn’t care. A team with Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Thomas Vanek need not be taken lightly, Letang said.

“They’re not getting the result right now, but they’re a really good hockey team.” Letang said. “They’re pretty deep at every position, so we have to expect a team that’s going to be hungry to try and prove something.”

The Penguins will try to build on Sidney Crosby’s game-winning power-play goal from Saturday in Montreal. The chances were there, Letang and forward David Perron insisted, an assertion backed up by the fact that the Penguins generated eight shots with the man-advantage.

It was only a matter of time until one of them went in.

“We had tons of chances in that game,” Letang said. “We looked at the tape. (Goaltender Carey) Price made some key saves at key moments. We have to keep working and maybe simplify at times, but I think we’re on the right path.”

Perron, who has 16 shots in his three games thus far as a Penguin, agreed.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” Perron said. “We had some good looks in Montreal other than that goal. I think we’re doing a lot of good things over the last few games that I’ve been here. I don’t know about before. I think it’s just a matter of time.”

News out of the skate: Not a ton. Pens called up Taylor Chorney from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. … Letang skated a day after missing practice because of a “maintenance day.” The day after it was reported he will likely miss the rest of the year, defenseman Olli Maatta skated prior to practice with Pascal Dupuis. … Lines remained the same:

14-87-39
13-71-19
36-16-23
38-57-27

Defense rotated in groups: 7, 10, 58 and 41 … 4, 47 and 44.

About the Wild: Jason Zucker leads in goals with 15. … Nino Niederreiter is one goal behind Zucker but hasn’t scored in 14 games. … Jason Pominville leads with 32 points. … Minnesota has outshot its opponent in 32 of 41 games this season (78.1 percent). … Marco Scandella has nine goals — or as many as the Wild’s other six defensemen combined. … Defenseman Ryan Suter has topped 30 minutes in 13 games this season, but he hasn’t scored since the first game of the season. … Since Dec. 5, the Wild has 13 power-play goals in 17 games (13 for 62, 21.0 percent).

The series: Tonight’s game completes the season series. … Penguins have won three of their last four against Minnesota and is looking to sweep the season series for the first time. … Penguins are 7-2 against the Western Conference this season. … Chris Kunitz has four goals in his last four games against the Wild. … The previous meeting was a 4-1 Penguins win at XCel Energy Center on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Thomas Greiss stop ped 33 of 34 shots. … Marc-Andre Fleury is 0-5-0 all-time against the Wild, the only NHL he’s never beaten. … Niederreiter scored with 9:18 left to snap a 205:28 shutout streak for the Penguins, it also snapped a stretch of 18 unanswered goals for them, the longest in the NHL since 2000-01. … Nick Spaling, Brandon Sutter, Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Penguins.

Next up: Penguins at Islanders, Friday, 7 p.m.

Links:
The Trib’s Penguins page
The Penguins’ home page
The Wild’s home page
NHL.com’s preview and box score

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 11, 2015
by Jason Mackey


One comment so far - add yours!

Revisit the Johnston story

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

One of the first things I did on this beat was write an introductory piece on Penguins coach Mike Johnston.

How he loved football, specifically Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense. How he played music at practices. How he liked to play a fast-paced game.

To report it, I talked to Johnston’s longtime assistant with the Portland Winterhawks, Kyle Gustafson, who was extremely helpful.

I hope by now you’ve had a chance to read today’s story on Johnston, hopefully allowing you to get to know him a little bit more. Fascinating guy, really. I also thought it might make for an interesting blog to revisit some of what Gustafson told me shortly after Johnston was hired. I don’t believe any of this made the paper the first time around.

Gustafson: “It seemed like every arena we were in, whether we were scouting, playing or at the NHL Draft, he couldn’t go five minutes without seeing a guy that he knows. I think that speaks volumes on the character and the guy that he is, to know that he has a lot of allies out there. That’s just Mike’s makeup. He’s a friendly guy. He’s the most caring guy I’ve been around.”

Mackey: Johnston has proven to be extremely well-connected. Seriously, every coach that comes into town, it seems like Johnston coached against him, coached for him, knew him through Canada’s national team or in Willie Desjardins’ case was the best man in his wedding. The guys knows a lot of people.

Gustafson: “He’s always reading. He’s always learning. He doesn’t come across like he knows everything, by any means. He likes to study different athletes. I can’t tell you the amount of examples we’ve had for individuals through Portland here. His go-to guy is Tom Brady. He’s got a lot of respect for Tom Brady and the professionalism he carries and the path that he took to the NFL. … Every training camp, every long road trip and playoffs, there was always a motivator: a story, a little example, something we used as a crutch to really try to have success with short-term motivation.”

Mackey: In the takeout, I wrote about Johnston is reading at the moment. “Mindfulness for Beginners” by Jon Kabatt-Zinn. Johnston is also a published author himself. I’m not aware any anecdotes until this point or little stories that he’s used, though I’m not sure that would translate as well as with the NHL crowd as it might have in the Western Hockey League.

Gustafson: “One of his best abilities is the way that he addresses the media, the way that he can get his point across to a large group. That stuff is right in his wheelhouse. He loves that stuff. He eats it up.”

Mackey: Johnston has been forced to handle a lot of injury updates and questions. This is not his comfort zone, nor would it be for pretty much any hockey coach. Sure wouldn’t be for me. His answers on hockey-related topics, however, are incredible. Johnston does love Brady and roots for the Pats because of it. Big, big football guy. He loves Brady’s demeanor. Always even keel. Never overly celebratory or petulant. I think we can see we’ve seen a lot of that from Johnston postgame.

Gustafson: “He’s got a lot of time for different people. It didn’t matter, for our team, whether you’re a prospect coming up through the system or you’re our star player, he’s going to pull you aside and spend 5-10 minutes with you every day, telling you what you need to work on, what you need to do to become a player. That goes outside the arena, too. It’s developing young men into professionals and taking the time to do so. There’s not a question in my mind that there’s not a guy who wouldn’t go through the end wall for him.”

Mackey: Johnston has been equal opportunity. He chewed out Derrick Pouliot — his Winterhawks connection and no doubt a favorite of his — when the young defenseman struggled, then praised him when he was good. He spends as much time talking to and coaching Andrew Ebbett as he does Sidney Crosby. Many Penguins were unsure what to think of Johnston early on — a guy who had never been an NHL head coach taking over one of its top teams. He has their attention now.

Club practices at 11 a.m. at Consol tomorrow. Talk to you from there.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,

Mackey

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 10, 2015
by Jason Mackey


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Pregame: Penguins at Canadiens, 7 p.m.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

MONTREAL — The two have been polar opposites.

Dan Bylsma and Mike Johnston? Well, no. But you might want to pick up a Trib tomorrow to learn a little bit more — OK, a lot more — about the Penguins’ new coach and what makes him tick.

I’m talking about the two games thus far against the Montreal Canadiens: a 4-0 win at Bell Centre on Nov. 18 and a 4-1 loss at Consol Energy Center on Jan. 3.

Starts, I guess you could say, were huge. The Canadiens scored two in the first in Pittsburgh and rolled. The Canadiens didn’t offer much resistance here last time, when Beau Bennett had a career-high three points, Marc-Andre Fleury won his fourth in nine, and the Penguins won for the 10th time in a 11 games.

Those were the day, eh? Not this recent road skid: 0-2-3, winless on the road in December, matching the stretch that got Michel Therrien fired and replaced with Bylsma.

Oddly, the November game snapped a six-game winning streak for the Canadiens, while the loss at Consol a week ago made it six in a row for Montreal, a stretch that was snapped by Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

“If you look at the last game, there wasn’t a ton of room out there,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said after Saturday’s gameday skate. “They capitalized on some chances. I think we’d like to generate a few more chances. I thought we did a pretty good job in the first period against them. The second two they seemed to shut those chances down pretty well. If we can improve in that area and be a little more consistent, it will hopefully generate more goals.”

The neutral zone will be important tonight. Montreal dominated it last game; in the first, the Penguins played the transition game Johnston prefers. I’ll say this: The Penguins had plenty of jump this morning.

Here’s Johnston answer from his morning scrum:

“Both games are almost opposite,” Johnston said. “If you look at the game we had here, we got up to an early lead. It was exactly the opposite when we played them in Pittsburgh (seven) days ago. They got off to the early lead. They capitalized right away. They played from the front. Certainly you’re never going to control that in a game, but I thought those were both factors in the two games.

“The key thing for Montreal, for me, is we’ve got to deny them transition opportunities. They’re a good team in transition. They’ve got very good skill, very good speed up front. We just don’t want to give them those easy transition opportunities.

“You’re talking about turnovers through the neutral zone. Make sure we manage the puck really well through there. And making sure our backcheck is solid off the forecheck.”

News out of the skate: Not a ton. … Habs skated off-site, but PA Parenteau, Mike Weaver and Manny Malhotra are reportedly out. … Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby are united, and David Perron shifted to right wing on the Penguins’ top line. … Steve Downie skated with Brandon Sutter and Bryan Rust. … Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff will play together, Robert Bortuzzo and Paul Martin. … Center Marcel Goc reported no problems and took rushes on a fourth line with Zach Sill and Craig Adams.

About the Canadiens: Like the Penguins, Montreal has 54 points, four behind Tampa Bay for the Eastern Conference lead. … Power play is 26th in the league at 14.2 percent, though Montreal has have power-play goals in five of its past 10 games. … Max Pacioretty leads the team in goals and points at 17-15–32. … Lightning snapped Montreal’s six-game winning streak with a 4-2 decision Tuesday. Canadiens hadn’t allowed more than one goal in a game prior to that since Dec. 6.

The series: Tied at 1 game apiece this season. Pittsburgh has a 5-4 edge in goals, Montreal a 60-53 lead in shots. Canadiens are 0 for 7 on the power play. … Penguins are 8-2-2 over their past 12 games overall vs. Montreal, 6-2-2 in their last 10 at Bell Centre.

Next up: Penguins vs. Wild, 7 p.m.

Links:
The Trib’s Penguins page
The Penguins’ gameday page
The Canadiens’ gameday page
NHL.com’s preview and box score

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
 
Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  


» Top TribLIVE.com Sports
» Top TribLIVE.com News
» Top TribLIVE.com Breaking News