This is the second of four games on the Golden Knights’ current road trip; Vegas has been stellar on the road all season with a mark of 10-1-1. That includes Monday’s 3-2 shootout win against the Blue Jackets.
The Golden Knights are 3-5-0 all-time against the Penguins and lost both meetings last season.
Pittsburgh will be without an integral part of their lineup tonight and moving forward, as the Penguins announced yesterday that defenseman Kris Letang will be out indefinitely after suffering a stroke.
The 35-year-old reportedly is “not suffering any lasting effects” after symptoms presented on Monday. Letang also suffered a stroke in 2014 and missed more than two months before returning to action, though he said on Twitter that he hopes to be back on the ice soon.
Letang continued: "I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 30, 2022
After winning five straight, the Penguins (11-8-4) enter tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak (0-1-1) and sit in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with 26 points through 23 games.
Not surprisingly, Sidney Crosby leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 31 points, while Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin have 21 and 20, respectively.
Goaltender Tristan Jarry is 4-0-1 in his last five starts and is 3-1-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .927 save percentage all-time against Vegas. He is 8-3-3 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .914 save percentage with one shutout in 14 starts this season.
Casey DeSmith is 3-5-1 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in nine starts in 2022-23.
For the Golden Knights, Adin Hill could get the nod tonight. Bruce Cassidy has yet to start either goalie in three consecutive games, and Logan Thompson has played the last two. That being said, Hill has lost his last three starts (0-2-1) after starting the season 5-0-0.
Thompson is 12-4-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and two shutouts in 16 starts, while Hill is 5-2-1 with a 2.74 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. Thompson has yet to face the Penguins in his career; Hill is 0-0-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
Either way, the Vegas netminder will be without Alex Pietrangelo, who is set to miss his second straight game as he tends to a personal matter in Las Vegas. Defenseman Daniil Miromanov was recalled yesterday, making him the likely candidate to slot in for Pietrangelo after Ben Hutton received limited minutes on Monday.
Miromanov has one assist in 11 career games with Vegas but has been very productive in the AHL this season, recording 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in 17 games with the Henderson Silver Knights. He is second on the team in scoring and first in points per game (0.76).
Pittsburgh has converted on just 16.2 percent of its power-play opportunities, which is good for 28th in the NHL. The penalty kill has been the much better special-teams unit, shutting down opposing power plays with an 81.9 percent efficacy rate.
Vegas ranks 21st in the league on the power play (20 percent) and 23rd on the penalty kill (74.6 percent).
The Golden Knights lead the league in first-period goals with 28, while Pittsburgh has potted just 24.4 percent of its goals in the opening frame. However, like the Golden Knights, the Penguins have been the first team on the board in most of their games this season.
Both clubs have given up the first goal just nine times; Vegas has a .444 win percentage (4-4-1) in that scenario, while Pittsburgh trails slightly at .333 (3-5-1). Vegas and Pittsburgh have scored first in 15 and 14 games, respectively, though the Golden Knights have a significant edge in win percentage when doing so. The Golden Knights have lost just two of 15 games (.867) after lighting the lamp first, while Pittsburgh is 8-3-3 (.571). That could be a factor in tonight’s matchup, though the Golden Knights can’t take their foot off the pedal if they establish a lead.
Two players who will look to end cold streaks are Jack Eichel and Malkin. After mounting a five-game point streak, Eichel is pointless in three straight, while Malkin has gone four consecutive games without finding the scoresheet.
Chandler Stephenson — Jack Eichel — Mark Stone
Reilly Smith — William Karlsson — Jonathan Marchessault
Paul Cotter — Nicolas Roy — Phil Kessel
William Carrier — Jake Leschyshyn — Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague — Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Daniil Miromanov — Zach Whitecloud
Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin — Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn — Jeff Carter — Kasperi Kapanen
Ryan Poehling — Teddy Blueger — Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin — Jeff Petry
Marcus Pettersson — Jan Rutta
Pierre-Olivier Joseph — Chad Ruhwedel