The Pittsburgh Penguins are back out on the ice tonight in Florida following a 4-2 loss in Sunrise. It was a lackluster performance by the Penguins, notably Matt Murray who just didn’t have it between the pipes last night. He was way off the mark with 3 goals allowed on just 21 shots. Murray left the ice with a 0.857 save percentage on the night. That’s a game to forget for Murray, but it isn’t like the offence were going to save the night. The Penguins registered 25 shots on Sergei Bobrovsky, so Murray wasn’t the only one off.
Pittsburgh struggled for the second consecutive game offensively, as they were shutout at home by former Penguin, Marc Andre-Fleury. I can’t say him too surprised given the injuries that the Penguins are going through on their forward lines. Bryan Rust and Nick Bjudstad both returned to practice this week, but Rust will not be eligible to return yet, while Bjudstad’s status isn’t clear. The biggest stick missing out of the lineup is Evgeni Malkin, who is going to be out for longer. He could be scheduled to return in two weeks, having recently gotten back to skating, though nothing extensive.
With Murray getting the nod against the Panthers on Tuesday night, expect to see Tristan Jarry between the pipes for the Pens in Tampa. That’s not necessarily a bad thing to get the backup in because Jarry has been sharp in two outings. It’s a really small sample size, though, and this is going to be his most difficult start of the season.
The Lightning are coming off a shoddy performance against the Colorado Avalanche, as they were blasted by a score of 6-2 on Saturday. The Bolts had an extended break to go over what wrong in that game. It’s been a slow start by their standards with a record of 4-3-1 going into Wednesday. In any case, Tampa are going to have the fresher legs in this matchup tonight. Head below for our free Penguins vs. Lightning pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
The Lightning were able to get three nights off at the perfect time. On the heels of a 6-2 defeat, the Lightning had plenty of time to revaluate the outing. This came after a 4-3 win in Boston, so it could have just been a letdown spot back home for the Lightning. Also keep in mind that if you look at the whole picture, it wasn’t a terrible effort by the Lightning. They fell victim to a hot goaltender while Andrei Vasilevskiy was ineffective. Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 24 shots, while the Bolts attacked with 46 shots on the other side of the ice.
Vasilevskiy will be looking for a bounce-back performance Wednesday night. It’s been a pedestrian start for the Vezina winner in the 2019-20 season. He enters tonight with a 3.15 GAA and 0.899 save percentage, which is well below his expectations. It’s early, though, and I could see Vasilevskiy coming out with a sharp performance in this one. He gets to face a Penguins team who are dealing with injuries to their forwards and have scored just 2 goals in their previous two games.
The Penguins have struggled in Tampa in recent memory, as they’ve fallen in three out of ten outings against the Lightning on the road. Tampa are 4-2 in their previous six games against the Pens overall. They scored just over 4 goals per game against the Pens in that six-game stretch. Jarry has been less effective on the road in his career, with a 2.88 GAA as opposed to a 2.57 GAA at home. The Lightning likely come out with a ton of focus this evening. It’s unlikely they follow that 6-2 loss up with a sloppy effort against a road weary Penguins squad on a back-to-back. Expect the well-rested Bolts to get done with the Penguins in regulation here.