NHL.com is looking ahead to the Stanley Cup, the Qualifiers for the review of five of the biggest questions that arise with each of the 24 remaining teams. Today, we look at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
1. Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry in the objective?
Murray is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, with 20 wins and a .899 percentage of the NHL are career lows. Jarry went 12-2-0 with a 1.78 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in 13 starts from Nov. 16-Dec. 30, including three shutouts in four starts, and had a .929 save percentage at even strength compared to .901 for Murray. General manager Jim Rutherford said he was confident Murray would be a start, and coach Mike Sullivan said last week Pittsburgh is leaning toward Murray in Game 1, but Jarry will be ready if Murray struggles.
Video: [email protected]: Murray pushes through the stone Vesey
2. Can they avoid looking at the past the qualifiers?
They are smart enough not to underestimate the Canadians, whose points percentage is the lowest among the 24 teams who will compete for the Stanley Cup. Students of the history of hockey to know about the 1991 Minnesota North Stars, 2012 the Los Angeles Kings and 2019 Columbus Blue Jackets, and how the 39-33-10 Canadiens ended the Penguins ‘ championship reign’s seven-game victory in 2010, during the Conference’s Semi-finals. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang have been on this team. They know that anything can happen.
3. The team that appears?
The Penguins have been an NHL-best 10-2-0 in December and 23-10-2 in 35 games to take over first in the Metropolitan Division Feb. 18 after trailing the Washington Capitals by 13 points Dec. 4. They have also lost six in a row (0-6-0) and was outscored 24-8 February. 20 to 29 years at their first losing streak since Dec. 29, 2011-Jan. 11, 2012. It cost them what turned out to be a place in the round among the top four teams from each conference to determine the seeds for the playoffs.
4. How quickly can Jake Guentzel return to form?
Pittsburgh has won 40 games, 16 of them without Guentzel after he had shoulder surgery Dec. 31. He said on 10 June, he hopes to be ready for the montreal Canadiens. The challenge for Guentzel, who has scored 40 goals in 2018-19 and 20 this season, will be playing at an elite level after a seven-month layoff. “I’m getting better every day,” he says. “Just kind of stick to the protocol and what I have to do. If I can get rehabbed and feel good, it would be nice to be back. ”
Video: [email protected]: Malkin puts in place Guentzel’s 200th NHL point
5. How are they going to build lines?
Guentzel’s return potential of the leaves on the Penguins with options to the front, even without Dominik Simon (shoulder surgery) and Nick Bjugstad (surgery of the spine). They could put together Guentzel to the left wing with Crosby on the top line and put Jason Zucker to Malkin at the left on the second line. Bryan Rust is a lock for the top six, and Crosby has always been comfortable with Conor Sheary to the right of it. Bjugstad’s injury opens the door for Evan Rodrigues on the third line, eventually left, with Jared McCann and Patric Hornqvist. Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger and Brandon Tanev is considered as one of the best fourth lines in the NHL.