The Pittsburgh Penguins will wrap up a brief two-game road trip Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
Pittsburgh has lost three in a row, with the last two coming in regulation. Last night, a slow start allowed the Winnipeg Jets to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Pittsburgh turned it on over the final 40 minutes, but some spectacular goaltending by Ondrej Pavelec and some bad luck prevented the Penguins from mounting a comeback. Pittsburgh hit the post three times in the contest.
Marc-Andre Fleury was just as good for the Penguins and had no chance on either of Winnipeg’s goals. He finished the game with 32 saves.
Zbynek Michalek scored the lone goal for the Penguins late in the second period off a set faceoff play.
Now, the Penguins will take on some familiar faces in tonight’s game.
The Wild’s new head coach is former Penguins assistant coach Mike Yeo. He was hired by former Penguins assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Nick Johnson was also claimed off waivers prior to the season. He has one goal in three games this season.
While people may be focusing on the roster overhaul the Philadelphia Flyers went through over the summer, Minnesota vastly changed the landscape of their own roster as well.
Martin Havlat was dealt to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Dany Heatley. Several days later, the Wild and Sharks did business again.
The Wild acquired the services of Devin Setoguchi along with picks and prospects in exchange for defenseman Brent Burns.
In addition to trying to snap a three-game skid, the Penguins will look to have a better effort against the Wild than the last time the teams met.
Last season, Minnesota skated to a 4-0 win over the Penguins in what was arguably the worst showing Pittsburgh had all year.
The Wild outshot the Penguins 37-26 in that game and Jose Theodore earned the shutout.
Theodore is gone, but the Penguins will face a very good goaltender in Niklas Backstrom (2-1-1, 1.93 GAA, .928 save percentage).
Backstrom is 3-0 against the Penguins with a 1.62 GAA and .949 save percentage in his career.
For Pittsburgh, you can expect to see Brent Johnson (0-0-2, 1.88 GAA, .926 save percentage).between the pipes.
Against the Wild, Johnson holds a 3-3-1 record with two ties to go along with a 1.60 GAA and .934 save percentage. He has also shut them out twice.
James Neal and Steve Sullivan have plenty of experience against the Wild having spent part of their careers in the Western Conference.
Neal has four goals and two assists in nine career games, while Sullivan has has 10 goals and 17 assists in 27 games against the Wild.
The Penguins were already without Sidney Crosby, Brooks Orpik, Dustin Jeffrey and Evgeni Malkin last night. However, the news broke Monday morning that Tyler Kennedy is suffering from “concussion-like” symptoms and did not play against the Jets.
Kennedy is to be reevaluated Tuesday.
The Penguins could also be without Kris Letang. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Letang will have a disciplinary hearing this afternoon.
Letang hit Winnipeg’s Alex Burmistrov into the boards from behind, which cost him two minutes in the box for boarding.
The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on Root Sports and Versus.
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