Penguins (9-2-2) VS Minnesota (6-4-1)
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
7:00 PM EST on ROOT
The Minnesota Wild roll in to The Paint Can tonight in yet another battle with a western conference team, seriously can’t remember the last time the Pens opened with so many games against the west (9 of 14 so far). The Wild have not played since November 5th because the NHL is great at making schedules, and they are 5-5 in their last 10 including a 4 game losing skid. Since I know you forgot about him, now is a good time to remind you that Eric Staal still plays in the NHL, though I cannot confirm if he still has 3 brothers that grew up on a farm in Canada. It is really hard to brew up any hate against Minnesota, I mean let’s face it, nobody looks at the upcoming schedule and says “shit, the Pens are playing the Wild Thursday.”
The only thing Pens fans remember about the Wild is the Zach Parise situation, man what a salary cap disaster that would’ve been. Look, Parise is good, but between Kessel and Parise, Phil all day long:
We don’t see enough of the Wild to really know much about them, but by combing through their roster there shouldn’t be any surprise that this team makes the playoffs and fails to progress beyond the 2nd round. Maybe I am the one that doesn’t know anything, because this was an actual headline on nhl.com:
Just in case you needed further proof that nhl.com is awful. RETURN?? The dude put together one unexplainable season when his career was in a do-or-die situation, let’s chill a little bit on that “elite” title. If you are going to classify current NHL players, Dubnyk is closer to the bottom of the list under the “average” column if anything. Of course now that I’ve said that he will probably post a 45 save shutout and I won’t be allowed to write about hockey ever again.
Projected starting lineups:
Sullivan has been switching Sheary every shift, and Wilson started over Kuhnhackl the last few games. These lineups were grabbed from dailyfaceoff.com and are obviously subject to change. The pens twitter feed is the best for those updates, this is especially true with the goaltenders, no clue who they will start. Pat and Leah (new contributors to thepensblog) discussed it a bit in their podcast, but a defensive shakeup could be coming soon with the recent struggle between Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin.
Players to Watch:
Old Man Cullen has had a solid start to the season and it would come as no surprise to me to see him score against his former team.
I should but Dubynk here since he is so damn elite, and I was going to put Parise on here but apparently he is injured. I bet Steigy still mentions that him and Crosby were friends in school. Running out of options here, so how about Joel Eriksson Ek? With a name like that, put him down for a goal tonight.
If the Pens continue to play the way they have been in the last few games, this Minnesota team shouldn’t be able to last. Additionally, against a team with a weaker offensive threat compared to the last 4 teams the Pens have played, this could be a great chance to mix up defensive pairings without too many major repercussions. At the rate he is going, Conor Sheary may put up a 5 point night. Who thought we would be saying that a few years ago? What a team. Go Pens.
Hi, I’m Rad. I will be helping Rich out over here on thepensblog with Gamedays and some recaps, as well as continuing to write on my main site, pens.hockey Together we are hoping to bring you 2 sites of Penguins loving, hockey loving, Flyers hating hockey coverage. Before I go, Pat and Leah (2 other newcomers to the tpb platform) posted their podcast on here late last night, so be sure to check that out since this post has now hidden it. Hopefully you enjoyed this first post, let me know in the comments!