The Pittsburgh Penguins will be on a back-to-back tonight after a sloppy performance in Anaheim last night against the Ducks. It was a weak showing against an inferior opponent. Losing winnable games against bad teams is not going to get the Penguins past the Capitals in the Metropolitan Division.
They’ve done a heck of a job getting back into contention, and can’t let their guard down now. The Penguins also have to worry about the Philadelphia Flyers who’ve been on fire in February. Philadelphia has been one of the hottest teams in the league and not a team to overlook. They’re a point ahead of the Penguins heading into Saturday. Meanwhile, the Capitals have a 4-point advantage on the Penguins.
Performances like that against the Ducks isn’t going to get it done, despite a late attempt to erase a 3-1 deficit. The Penguins ultimately fell by a score of 3-2, with Matt Murray getting tagged with the loss. Murray was off, with 3 goals allowed on just 21 shots for a 0.857 save percentage.
Expect to see Tristan Jarry get the call on Saturday night in San Jose against the Sharks. Jarry had a shaky outing against the Sabres last Saturday, though he was able to respond with a solid performance against the Kings. However, the Penguins couldn’t produce a win out of Jarry’s good start, as they fell by a score of 2-1 in Los Angeles. That’s another winnable game that got away from Pittsburgh.
This is the last game of a four-game road trip for the Penguins. It started in Washington on Sunday, where they were losers by a score of 5-3 against the Capitals. That loss seemed to hurt their momentum a bit, as they followed it up with two more losses, against the Kings and Ducks. The Kings and Duck aren’t going to the playoffs, nor are the Sharks, so this could be a brutal run that could ultimately hurt their seeding.
Pittsburgh added Conor Sheary and Jason Zucker at the trade deadline to play alongside Sidney Crosby. The trade was meant to lessen the blow of losing Jake Guentzel, who may never be able to return this season, including the playoffs. If that’s the case, an attempt to get better at the deadline was the right move. However, it could take a minute before chemistry develops. We’ll see if they can figure it out in San Jose against the Sharks this evening. Head below for our free Penguins vs. Sharks pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. San Jose Sharks Betting Odds:
Penguins vs. Sharks Prediction:
The Sharks head into Saturday with a record of 27-33-4. They are not going to the playoffs, but have nevertheless been battling recently. The Sharks got behind against the Devils on Thursday night, 2-0. That didn’t deter them, though, as they erased the deficit and won a 3-2 game at the Shark Tank. It’s good to see that effort is still there from the Sharks despite a horrible year.
Considering this team is just a year removed from going to the Western Conference Final, and it wasn’t that long ago they were in the Stanley Cup Final, this has been a really horrible year for them. That win snapped a five-game losing streak. That doesn’t sound like they’ve been battling, but they were in a lot of those games, just couldn’t get the bounce or two they needed. They managed to be on the right side against the Devils in overtime Thursday night.
Having said that, the Sharks have notched just 2.5 goals per game and allowed 3.1 in their previous ten outings. The offence hasn’t really gotten into a groove at any point this season. They haven’t been inconsistent, but mostly inconsistently bad offensively. Injuries have played a role in that, though the Sharks weren’t playing great hockey earlier in the season when they were healthy, either. San Jose has averaged only 2.53 goals per game on the season, which puts them at the bottom of the NHL. That’s good for 29th in the league, ahead of only the Kings and Red Wings.
Jarry enters San Jose with a 2.23 GAA and 0.927 save percentage. He’s stabilized a bit after starting his career on fire, but is still a reliable option for the Penguins. The Penguins will ride with whoever is hotter in the playoffs. A couple of bad starts from somebody could cue a goaltending change.
I’m expecting him to have a solid night against a very beatable Sharks’ offence on Saturday night. And after the dud they laid in Los Angeles and Anaheim, look for Jarry to get a lot of support from his teammates in this one. A back-to-back might be best for the Penguins following a bad loss. They don’t have time to dwell on anything. I’m on the Penguins to come out and respond positively in this one.