It’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh folks. It’s about that time again. Tonight, at 7pm, the Penguins take on their neighboring rival in the Blue Jackets. In my opinion, one of the most entertaining rivalries the Penguins have, this should set up to be a GREAT game.
The Penguins faced off against the Blue Jackets twice in the preseason, splitting the games evenly, 1-1. The Blue Jackets have dropped 7 straight games to the Penguins when they play in PPG Paints Arena. That type of stat meant NOTHING to the Sabres when they beat the Penguins earlier this week, but it’s still a good one to note.
Per practice yesterday:
Now THOSE are some lines I like to see. I only have one issue with them. Dominik Simon, I personally think he’s not a good player. Sure, Crosby vouches for him often, stating he has incredible hockey sense, etc etc. That’s all fine and dandy Sid, but if you don’t have the talent to back it up, what’s the sense gonna do for you? That being said, I trust Sid, he’s the GOAT, he knows what he wants and what he’s doing. I’d take Simon over Hornqvist any day of the week. Also, THANK GOD JOHNSON IS OUT. I find it odd Riikola isn’t in over Ruhwedel, but I’ll hold judgment until I watch the game.
Dangle, snipe and celly:
The Pens offense is looking much more refined now, with these current lines. With Hornqvist no longer holding Sid and Guentzel back, I’d expect either a goal or two from that line, specifically looking at Guentzel here. He’s been a threat again CBJ, with 12 points ( 5 goals and 7 seven assists) against them in 11 career regular season games. Solid numbers, and I can see Sid setting him up nicely this game. I’d like to keep an eye out on that second line again tonight. They did well the first game, I expect them to only be better tonight. I’d like to see a goal or two from them as well. Look for Tanev and Galchenyuk to setting Geno up from the top of the right circle.
Penguins Steel Curtain
Praise be, Sullivan has a brain!!!! All jokes aside, FINALLY he has removed the weak links of the defense. Johnson and Gudbranson out, Marino and Ruhwedel in. I’m hesitant of the Ruhwedel choice over Riikola, but as I stated above, I’ll give it an unbiased shot. Of course, these were the lines YESTERDAY. That might not be the case at game time, but god do I hope it is. That being said, the defense needs to lock it down regardless of who is in and prevent Columbus’s talent from taking the puck and netting it. With 17 turnovers in the first game, that number needs to be halved, if not more. Keep Atkinson, Foligno, Nyquist and Jones in check, and we’ll be looking good.
Brick Wall or Swiss Cheese?
Matt Murray was solid in the home opener. The only issue he really had was that weak third goal. The first two weren’t on him, but that third was ugly. The nail in the coffin, if you will. If he can keep control of his rebounds tonight and not let soft goals in, then I don’t expect the Jackets to have something to combat that.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
- Fuel the machine: GET MALKIN THE PUCK. He was dancing Thursday and Galchenyuk and Tanev were his backups. They looked real solid, and had numerous chances in the first period, let’s look to extend that all game and net a couple more.
- Lock it down: Keep the little bit of talent CBJ still has in check. Don’t let Atkinson shoot, play hard against him, Foligno and Nyquist. You see Seth Jones with the puck at the blue line? Do NOT give him a clear shot on net. Block that.
- Capitalize on the PP: Pens were 1/5 on the power-play against the Sabres……….come on boys. You can do vastly better. If they get numerous power-plays, they better capitalize. If they have another 5, they better put at least 2 in.
I refuse to acknowledge that the apparently changed the goal song, so #LetsGoPens