Penguins @ Bruins
TD Garden | Boston, MA
Thursday, January 28 | 7:00 PM Eastern
ESPN+ | NESN | AT&TSN-PT | SNE | SNO | SNP
Just over 24 hours after GM Jim Rutherford’s shock resignation, the Penguins (4-2-1) are still shipped up to Boston (get it, still like the song?) to take on the Bruins (4-1-1) for the second time time in three days.
A lot of the focus tonight will surely be on Jim Rutherford, who, in his various interviews over the last day, hasn’t mentioned really why he quit. He’s dropped little nuggets, everyone has tried to read between the lines, sources have dropped even more little nuggets to the media, but nothing makes sense and maybe that’s something we all have to live with.
penguins twitter trying to figure out why jim left pic.twitter.com/HRrpK7zrwr
— geoff safari (@G_Off817) January 28, 2021
On the flipside, the Penguins play hockey tonight after getting their first standings point in Boston since November 2018.
Tuesday night’s affair was something of a microcosm of the Penguins season.
The Penguins got overwhelmed in the first period, eventually went down by 2 goals, clawed back late in the third to force OT, then did this before eventually losing.
No better way to snap your 4 game win streak than not converting on a 2v0 if you ask me.
If there’s a bright side to Tuesday’s OT loss, it’s that the Penguins controlled the puck at even strength after the first period.
In 47:58 of even strength play, they owned a 53.57% share of the shot attempts, a 23-21 edge in scoring chances, 1.72-1.65 edge in expected goals, and a 2-1 edge in actual goals scored, via Natural Stat Trick.
The score/venue adjustments were a little less kind to the Penguins, as were the high danger scoring chances (10-7 in favor of the Bruins). In fact, the Bruins had their way with the Penguins in the net front areas, a story as old as time with this Pens team this season.
Hard to expect anything other than a 2-1 stinker tonight. Maybe the Penguins will buck the trend of the last 6+ years and be on the right side of the result in Boston!!!!!!
Perhaps the biggest situation to monitor for the Penguins is the health of the blue line. This is an evergreen sentence.
Neither Brian Dumoulin nor John Marino took part in practice yesterday. Dumoulin left Tuesday night’s game with a “lower-body injury,” while Marino finished the game and was responsible for the turnover that led to Craig Smith’s game winning goal.
Coach Sullivan said Brian Dumoulin is being evaluated for a lower-body injury.
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) January 27, 2021
The loss of Dumoulin may signal the introduction of Kevin Czuczman into the lineup. This is not an NHL 2021 autogenerated name.
UPDATE (12:41 PM)
Dumoulin is considered week-to-week, but Marino will play.
Sullivan: "Brian Dumoulin is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. John Marino is fine. He'll be available tonight. Yannick Weber got stuck in a snowstorm on the way to Boston so he won't play tonight. He'll meet us in New York and we anticipate him being available for those."
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) January 28, 2021
Speaking of Yannick Weber, the Penguins did make a signing yesterday, inking former Predator Weber to a 1 year, two-way contract.
Over the course of his career, the right-shot Weber hasn’t been particularly adept at driving offense and is a bit of a below average defender, but he is a living, breathing human being though and that’s important here. The Penguins don’t have enough of those on the blue line right now. If he clears waivers and Marino can’t go, expect him to see action tonight too.
You might also remember Yannick Weber from the 2017 Cup Final.
If you don’t, that’s okay. It’s probably because you didn’t see him much with Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, and PK Subban each playing like 30+ minutes a night.
For the Penguins, it was also cool to see Zucker and Kapanen get their first goals of the season. Zucker, in particular, hasn’t played poorly, but has been snakebit. More of the goals and less of the snakes, please.
Guentzel – Crosby – Rust
Zucker – Malkin – Kapanen
McCann – Blueger – Tanev
O’Connor – Jankowski – Sceviour
Joseph – Letang
Marino – Ceci
Czuczman – Ruhwedel
Much like the Penguins, the Bruins are pretty banged up as well. They’ll be without the services of Jake DeBrusk, injured on a Sidney Crosby hip check on Tuesday, and will give Tuukka a rest after getting injured prior to Zucker scoring the other night.
They may be getting Matt Grzelcyk back on the blue line, but still no word on if Cassidy stopped jobbing himself between games, whining about the refereeing.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on the Penguins getting six power-play opportunities: pic.twitter.com/UIrCukEV2W
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) January 27, 2021
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Ritchie – Krejci – Coyle
Frederic – Lindholm – Studnicka
Bjork – Kuraly – Wagner
Lauzon – McAvoy
Grzelcyk – Carlo
Zboril – Miller
Everything about this game has 2-1 stinker written all over it. Finish the bears.