NHL Game of the Week: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Vegas Golden Knights
On Thursday, Dec. 1, the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Vegas Golden Knights in a cross-conference matchup at PPG Paints Arena.
With a current record of 11-8-4, the Penguins’ 2022-23 season has given their fans whiplash. The team came out with a bang, securing back-to-back 6-2 wins against the Arizona Coyotes and the Tampa Bay Lightning. While their short winning streak was broken in game three by the Montreal Canadiens, the Penguins kept the momentum alive with two more victories before falling into a severe early-season rut.
After a devastating seven-game losing streak, the Penguins finally found their footing once again, defeating the Capitals 4-1 on the road and beginning what many fans hoped would be a long overdue comeback.
Since then, the team has continued to battle through a solid season. Standout players such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel have been a force to be reckoned with, putting up a combined total of 31 goals and 41 assists so far this season.
Of course, it’s not just the offense who deserves credit. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry as well as backup goalie Casey DeSmith have been on fire between the posts, managing to maintain save percentages of .914 and .910 respectively.
However, just like their season so far, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. Earlier this week, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang suffered a stroke for the second time in under a decade. Although he is currently out indefinitely, Letang does not expect to suffer any lasting effects and hopes to be back on the ice soon to continue his 15th season with the team. As a key player, his absence will certainly have an impact. The Penguins will need to step up their game in order to fill the gap.
The team is currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference.
On the opposing end, the Vegas Golden Knights have had a very successful start to their season. With a current record of 17-6-1, they are first in both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. As of right now, they have the best road record in the league at 10-1-1 and are only aiming to improve as they face Pittsburgh.
Center forward Jack Eichel continues to lead the team in both goals (11) and points (26) and has been a crucial part of the team’s success this season. Alex Pietrangelo currently leads the team in assists with 18. However, he is not expected to play this Thursday after sustaining an upper-body injury during the Knights’ game against the San Jose Sharks.
Starting goalie Logan Thompson has been on fire this season with a save percentage of .921. With 12 wins under his belt so far, he has certainly proven himself to be a brick wall in the net. Backup goalie Adin Hill has also been successful with a save percentage of .903. Needless to say, the Penguins should be prepared to face the challenge in the offense.
Pittsburgh should also be on the lookout for Golden Knights right wing, (and former Penguins player), Phil Kessel who made history last month, becoming the NHL’s new ironman leader for most consecutive games played in league history.
Overall, this matchup should be exciting and intense. After two straight losses, the Penguins seek to get back on a winning streak, while the Knights fight for yet another away victory.
Anna Licastro is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, please email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Anna Licastro is a first-year student at Penn State. She has spent her first semester as a new member of CommRadio and Penn State Sports Night TV where she writes preview and post-game articles for a variety of sports, does beat writes for Penn State Women’s Soccer, and is an on-air talent for segments about both Penn State and professional sports. In the future, she would love a career in play-by-play or any type of broadcasting or article writing related to the Pittsburgh Penguins.