By: Casey Johnston (@CaseyR82)
Last Game for the Pens: Saturday, a 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz both had a goal and two assists while Olli Maatta scored the first of his career to tie the game. Evgeni Malkin scored the lone shootout goal to secure the win for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 of 39 shots for his league-leading seventh win.
Last Game for the Avalanche: Saturday, a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, and Gabriel Landeskog all had a goal and an assist. J.S. Giguere stopped 28 of 3o shots.
Last Time These Two Teams Met: March 3, 2012. The Penguins defeated the Avalanche 5-1 in Colorado. Deryk Engelland, Richard Park, Steve Sullivan, Aaron Asham, and Evgeni Malkin all scored for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 of 36 shots.
Story of the Game: So far this season, the Penguins’ opponents have had a combined record of 23-39-9, so facing the 7-1 Colorado Avalanche (opponent’s combined record 34-29-2) is the first big test of the year. After finishing with the second-worst record in the NHL last season, the Avalanche’s early turnaround has many surprised. Much has been said about the philosophy of new head coach Patrick Roy and the effects he’s had on the team, particularly in goalie Semyon Varlamov. While not many had this game circled on their calendars at the beginning of October, everyone should be paying attention tonight.
Pens All-Time Record Against the Avalanche: 33-35-7-1.
Avalanche-Killer on the Pens: Deryk Engelland has a two-game scoring streak against the Avalanche.
Penguins-Killer on the Avalanche: Paul Stastny has three points in his last three games and the Penguins.
Probable Lines Tonight: (From Daily Faceoff)
14 Chris Kunitz 87 Sidney Crosby 9 Pascal Dupuis
36 Jussi Jokinen 71 Evgeni Malkin 12 Chuck Kobesew
15 Tanner Glass 16 Brandon Sutter 27 Craig Adams
39 Harry Zolnierczyk 46 Joe Vitale 5 Deryk Engelland
44 Brooks Orpik 7 Paul Martin
4 Rob Scuderi 2 Matt Niskanen
3 Olli Maatta 41 Robert Bortuzzo
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
92 Gabriel Landeskog 26 Paul Stastny 40 Alex Tanguay
90 Ryan O’Reilly 9 Matt Duchene 17 Steve Downie
11 Jamie McGinn 29 Nathan Mackinnon 15 P.A. Parenteau
24 Marc-Andre Cliché 7 John Mitchell 58 Patrick Bordeleau
6 Erik Johnson 8 Jan Hejda
44 Ryan Wilson 5 Nate Guenin
61 Andre Benoit 16 Cory Sarich
35 J.S. Giguere