PITTSBURGH (13-7-3) VS DALLAS (9-9-6)
THE PAINT CAN, Pittsburgh, PA
7:00 EST, ROOT Sports
November is over, and the Penguins enter December 13-7-3 and in the 2nd place spot in the Metro division. Last season, the Penguins finished November 13-8-2, so that kind of ends the whole this team can’t repeat narrative. Last season the Penguins started December with a 5-1 stomping of the San Jose Sharks on December 1st, 2015. That had to be one of the few 5 goal games during the Johnston era. The Penguins learned the hard way last night that regardless of how good you are, and believe it or not the Penguins are quite good, you can’t get away with spotting teams multi-goal leads and only deciding to play in the 3rd all season. The Stars come in tonight as a ghost of the team they were last season. They have 90% of the same players that turned the team in to the beast it was during the regular season last year, with the exception of Alex Goligoski, who decided the playoffs weren’t for him and signed with Arizona. Despite returning a similar lineup, the early results haven’t been there for the Stars who are currently 9-9-6 and 1 point out of the wild card spot. The two things that every Penguins fan remembers about Dallas are: James Neal and Matt Niskanen for Alex Goligoski (still the biggest robbing of Shero’s career), and Brendan Morrow for Joe Morrow, a 3rd and a 5th (what a difference 2 years makes for a GM). Outside of those trades, Dallas is just another Western team, and the way the league is set up we see them twice and forget they exist until the playoffs. I know traveling is taxing on the players and the budget, but I would prefer seeing one less division game if it meant 1 more game against each Western Conference team. Just my 2 cents.
Projected Starting Lineups:
That Dallas defense has got me all like:
The Pens will put their trust in Marc-Andre tonight as the look to rebound from last night’s performance. Should be fun since the Stars have a talented offense that could break open at any moment. As we saw for 19 minutes last night, teams cannot stick with the Penguins when they are on their game so hopefully they decide to be on their game for the majority of this one. Does anyone have stats or data that suggests Eric Fehr should still be in the starting lineup? Maybe they bench him tonight for Wilson since it is the second of a back to back. Pouliot is also available now, but it’s Pouliot.
Who to Watch:
For Dallas: Jamie Benn
Benn has but up near 80 point seasons for three straight, and with 20 so far through 24 games he is a few multipoint games away from being on the same pace. Thankfully this game isn’t on NBCSN otherwise they would try to paint some kind of Benn vs Crosby rivalry, actually they wouldn’t, because the NHL doesn’t want to bring attention to their best players.
For Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby
The level of desire, work ethic, and leadership that Crosby is showing right now is something we will all take for granted at some point. Tonight I encourage you to just sit back and enjoy what this man is doing, because it won’t last forever, and it is damn fucking special.
- Phil Kessel denying Pierre McGuire is probably the play of the game from last night
- Olli Maatta hasn’t scored since February 8th, so the #maattamegamillions over @penshockeyblog is over 60 bucks tonight
- Wouldn’t it be fun if Fleury made a 45 save shutout tonight
- November is over, so I can no longer say it’s only November, but I can still say it is only December. Don’t take it too seriously until after the holidays folks
LET’S GO PENS