After starting with 5 of their first 6 games of the month at home the Penguins take their circus show on the road to the city of Calgary tonight. The Pens enter their 7th game of December with a 5-1-0 record despite not having Sidney Crosby in any of those games and without Evgeni Malkin for two of them. The Pens are also going for their 20th win tonight. Last season the Pens achieved win number 20 on December 29th in game number 38. We’ve seen Penguins coaches get snubbed from Jack Adams considerations before, but Mike Sullivan is making quite the case for himself. On this date last year the Pens entered what would be their 33rd game of the season against the Ducks with a 15-11-06 record.
It’s been less than a month since we’ve seen the Flames, the Pens were victorious over Calgary in a 3-2 OT game on November 25nd. In the 9 games since their last meeting both of these teams have been on a bit of a run. The Pens are 6-3-0 since that meeting, including 4-1-0 in their last 5. On the other side, the Flames went on a 7 game winning streak after the Pens beat them, a streak that ended Saturday night to the Hurricanes, resulting in a 7-1-0 stretch since the last meeting between these two teams. The Flames turnaround came after the abrupt firing of coach Bill Peters after reports of racism and abuse resulted in him getting canned. Interim head coach Geoff Ward is 6-1-0 since stepping in.
The Pens are no strangers to December coaching changes, with last week representing the 4 year anniversary of Mike Sullivan getting called up to replace that boring guy. Sullivan’s tenure has been pretty good, even though some idiots think he should be fired. Tonight will be his 334th game behind the Penguins bench as he goes for his 194th win. This will also be Sullivan’s 498th career game as a head coach.
Generally, it is exciting to see two teams playing great hockey at the same time go head-to-head. With the news that Bryan Rust was held out of practice yesterday due to illness, and with the questions surrounding Evgeni Malkin, the excitement has dwindled a tad.
If Rust and Malkin are both out then Jake Guentzel may just play alone on the top line. The Pens used Mark Recchi and Serge Gonchar in practice yesterday, no word yet on if either have been activated. I won’t make a Gonchar would still be better than Johnson comment. I won’t make a Gonchar would still be better than Johnson comment. I won’t make a Gonchar would still be better than Johnson comment. I won’t make a Gonchar would still be better than Johnson comment. I won’t make a Gonchar would still be better than Johnson comment. Gonchar would probably be better than Johnson, but I hear Johnson is a great teammate. Wouldn’t mind GMJR leaving a player or two in Calgary and stealing Gaudreau. Unfortunately, new head coach Geoff Ward recognized that Gaudreau is a top-line forward so that opportunity may have passed.
It will most likely be Tristan Jarry in net, because he’s been pretty damn good. It’s a late night game with puck drop occurring around 9:00 PM EST. Be sure to grab a 3 PM coffee, hit the gym at 6, take a nap at 7, and get ready to go at 9. Shitty weather and a hockey game on, what more could you want? Let’s go, boys.