The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without defenseman Kris Letang when they entertain the San Jose Sharks tonight. Letang suffered a concussion in Saturday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes.
David Perron will return to the Penguins lineup after missing Saturday’s game due to illness.
San Jose enters tonight’s game looking for a third straight win. The Sharks are seven points out of a wild card seed in the Western Conference. Meanwhile the Penguins entered Sunday’s action in the second spot in the Metropolitan Division.
San Jose won the only meeting between the two clubs 2-1 in a shootout on March 9.
Puck drop tonight is at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on NBCSN, or catch it live online using NBCSports.com’s Live Extra.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard’s recent slump has been bad enough spark speculation about him potentially losing the starting job to 23-year-old netminder Mrazek. That debate only intensified after Mrazek posted a 23-save shutout against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Under these circumstances, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has decided to start Mrazek against the New York Islanders despite the lack of rest. The only other time Detroit attempted to start Mrazek on back-to-back days this season, he allowed three goals on seven shots to the Buffalo Sabres before being pulled just 13:37 minutes into the second game.
There’s no word yet on who the Islanders will counter with.
Capitals at Rangers: Braden Holtby vs. Cam Talbot
Panthers at Senators: Craig Anderson will start for Ottawa; Roberto Luongo is the probable goaltender for Florida.
Bruins at Hurricanes: Tuukka Rask is expected to be fine for today’s game after dealing with dehydration issues on Saturday, so there’s a fair chance he’ll be between the pipes for Boston. Carolina will likely go with Anton Khudobin after using Cam Ward on Saturday, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Flames at Predators: Jonas Hiller is confirmed for Calgary while there’s a fair chance Nashville will counter with Pekka Rinne.
Ducks at Devils: It’s not know who Anaheim will start, but Cory Schneider will be in goal for New Jersey.
Sharks at Penguins: Alex Stalock vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Blackhawks at Jets: Corey Crawford vs. Ondrej Pavelec
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign tonight as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the San Jose Sharks at the Consol Energy Center, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have fallen on hard times and while they did manage to secure a 3-2 win yesterday, it was against the lowly Coyotes. If you exclude games against Arizona, Pittsburgh hasn’t won since March 12.
“We‘re playing so bad right now, it’s true,” Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin said before the start of the Coyotes’ game, per the team’s website. “Not just one guy, it’s the whole team. The last game (Pittsburgh’s 5-2 loss to Carolina on Thursday), I think it’s the worst game of the whole season. It’s not fun to watch.”
Regardless of the opponent, a win’s a win, but tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks will be a much bigger test. The Sharks are six points behind in the playoff race with seven contests remaining, so the chances of them making the playoffs are slim, but they’re coming off back-to-back wins as they desperately try to stay in the race.
“Every win is rewarding, especially right now,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski told CSN Bay Area. “We’re fighting and playing for wins.”
Adding to the challenge for both teams is the fact that they’re playing with depleted defenses. The San Jose Sharks lost blueliner Mirco Mueller (hand) on Thursday and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body) on Saturday. Defenseman Scott Hannan sustained a cut under his eye during Saturday’s game, but he still might end up playing tonight.
On Pittsburgh’s side, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is out with an upper-body injury while Kris Letang was hospitalized on Saturday following a hit by Shane Doan:
With a 41-23-11 record, the Penguins are tied with the New York Islanders in terms of points in the battle for the second seed in the Metropolitan Division and the first round home-ice advantage that comes with it. Pittsburgh has played in one less game than the Islanders, so they have a bit of an edge in that respect. At the same time Pittsburgh is only three points ahead of the Wild Card seed Washington Capitals, so if the Penguins’ struggles continue, they could slip significantly in the standings.