The defending champs are in St. Paul as the Minnesota Wild look for their first winning streak of the season.
The Wild (3-3-2) won both their games against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-1) last season. Minnesota is coming off a goal-filled 6-4 victory over the New York Islanders, a game which saw Zack Mitchell and Luke Kunin score their first NHL goals.
Chris Stewart maintains his team lead in goals (six) and points (eight) headed into the game. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk is 4-4-0 with a 2.87 GAA and .913 save percentage in eight starts against Pittsburgh. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon has four points in the last three games, including a pair of assists against the Islanders.
As for the Penguins, it should not be a surprise to see Sidney Crosby at the top of the stat sheet with five goals and six assists. He also leads the team with 16 points against the Wild.
Pittsburgh leads the NHL with its road power-play numbers, scoring 10 goals in 24 chances (41.7 percent). They’re 12-for-44 overall with the man advantage. Something might have to give against the Wild’s 11-for-11 penalty on home ice.
Last game featured a few Minnesota connections, and this one does, too. The most notable is 40-year-old Wild forward Matt Cullen -- 41 on Thursday -- facing off against his former team, a group he just won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the past two years. Cullen has one assist on the season. He’s played 38 games against Pittsburgh in his career, scoring nine goals and 16 assists. Cullen received his 2017 Stanley Cup Championship ring earlier Saturday.
Penguins center Jake Guentzel grew up in Woodbury and played for Hill-Murray High School. Phil Kessel played for the University of Minnesota.
Jason Zucker, (three goals, four assists) will be in the lineup a day after his son Hendrix Scott was born. Nino Niederreiter, out with an injury but skated with the team this week, is a game-time decision.
Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), eight games
Charlie Coyle, IR, (right fibula fracture), five games
Nino Niederreiter, IR, (high left ankle sprain), five games
Landon Ferraro (hip flexor), three games
Total games lost to injury: 27
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