NHL Hockey

3
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Minnesota 0 1 2 3
Pittsburgh 2 2 3 7
7
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00 BRT, January 14, 2020
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 18,545

Penguins host Wild with possible Crosby return

Minnesota Wild at Pittsburgh Penguins

  1. Pittsburgh extended its winning streak over Minnesota to four games with a 7-4 victory in the season's first meeting on October 12. The Penguins have won five of the last six matchups in Pittsburgh, totaling 24 goals in those victories.
  2. Sidney Crosby is set to return today -- his first game since November 9 following core muscle surgery. The Penguins are an NHL-best 18-6-4 (.714) without Crosby after starting the season 10-6-1 (.618) with him in the lineup. Over the previous five seasons, the Pens were 7-7-3 (.500) without him.
  3. Pittsburgh had a pair of power-play goals in Sunday's 4-3 shootout win at Arizona, and is converting 22.8 percent of its power-play opportunities since Crosby's injury. The Penguins had the league's fifth-worst power play prior to Crosby's injury, converting 12.5 percent of their chances on the man advantage.
  4. Alex Galchenyuk assisted on Patric Hornqvist's power-play goal Sunday to become the 14th Penguin with at least 15 points. Only the Avalanche have more skaters with 15 or more points with 15.
  5. The Wild lost to the Canucks, 4-1, on Sunday, the second game in a row and fifth time in their last nine contests they were held to one goal or fewer. Prior to this stretch which began on December 21, Minnesota had four games scoring one goal or less -- tied with Washington for sixth fewest.
  6. Marcus Foligno scored Sunday, giving him four goals in his last four games after starting the season with four goals in his first 31 contests. He has never scored a goal in 19 career games against the Penguins.

The Penguins won all three games on a trip against teams in the top half of the Western Conference, all by 4-3 scores -- one in regulation, one in overtime and in Sunday's eight-round shootout at Arizona.

"It was obviously a great trip," said Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, whose team hosts the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. "We knew it was going to be a real tough trip, playing against some real good teams that are playing pretty good hockey.

"The fact that we were able to take six points out of it is a credit to the team. They're playing hard. Guys are competing out there. We're finding different ways to win. Different guys are stepping up at key times, and we're getting saves."

The Penguins came from behind, went back and forth and staved off a comeback for the three wins, and always came up with a timely goal or two.

"It's good that goals are going in," said Teddy Blueger, who during the trip had a goal and two assists, also adding the shootout winner Sunday. "Hopefully, we can build on that."

This will be the Penguins' fourth straight game against a team from the West. They are 19-4-2 in interconference games.

There seems to be a good chance that Pittsburgh center and team captain Sidney Crosby will return Tuesday from sports hernia surgery after missing 28 games. He was close to playing Sunday.

At 188 man-games lost and counting, the Penguins have remained near the top of the Eastern Conference standings despite regularly missing multiple players, including long-term injuries to key team members.

"Hopefully, guys start coming back soon and we stay healthy," winger Patric Hornqvist said. "If not, you know, we'll keep going out and working hard, playing good hockey and take our chances. We really don't have a choice. And I think guys in this (locker) room, like, don't know how to do anything else."

Minnesota, meanwhile, brings some frustration with it to Pittsburgh.

The Wild have lost three straight games (0-2-1) and five of six, getting just one goal in four of those six, including each of the past two.

"We're a team when we're going well, we get shots on net. We go to the net," Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's how we score. We grind it out. But we don't have enough guys grinding right now."

One Wild player going strong is Marcus Foligno, who has four goals in the past four games. But he's not getting a lot of help.

"It just seemed like we were just hoping for something to give us a bounce and it just wasn't happening," Foligno said after Sunday's 4-1 loss to Vancouver.

The game at Pittsburgh is one of just two road contests this month, which shaped the Wild's goals.

"We looked at January as a homestand, and we haven't really done much (with) it. It's frustrating," Foligno said. "We can still salvage it and get it back before the All-Star break, to make something out of it."

--Field Level Media

Updated January 13, 2020

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