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Penguins at Coyotes preview

Crosby remains out for Pittsburgh; Arizona has been shut out in past two

by Alan Robinson / Independent Correspondent

PENGUINS (27-12-5) at COYOTES (25-18-4)



The Game

Sidney Crosby remains sidelined for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who try to sweep a three-game road trip when they play the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Sunday.

The center, who was cleared for full contact and went through a full practice Saturday, has missed 27 games following core muscle surgery Nov. 14. The Penguins are 2-0-0 on their road trip, 6-1-1 in their past eight games and 13-3-1 in their past 17. They have gone 17-6-4 without their captain.

The Coyotes have been shut out in their past two games after winning four in a row and are coming off a 3-0 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. They lost 2-0 at Pittsburgh on Dec. 6, when Tristan Jarry made 33 saves for the Penguins.


Players to watch

Penguins forward Bryan Rust has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past eight games.

Coyotes forward Phil Kessel will face the Penguins for the second time since they traded him to Arizona on June 29. He did not have a point in the first game against Pittsburgh and has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past six games.


They said it

"It's been pretty great to watch, the different ways we've won, different guys stepping up. Everybody's just found ways to elevate their game. It's been a team effort each and every night, and it's been pretty great to see throughout the entire year." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

"We're going to have to get a little harder around the net, absolutely. We have to start a little quicker. A little adversity here the last couple of games, and we're going to have to weather the storm. [But] I'm fine with this team." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet


Penguins projected lineup

Dominik Kahun -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Dominik Simon -- Jared McCann -- Patric Hornqvist

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Brandon Tanev

Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Agozzino -- Sam Lafferty

Jack Johnson -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- John Marino

Juuso Riikola -- Chad Ruhwedel

Tristan Jarry

Matt Murray

Scratched: Joseph Blandisi, Kevin Czuczman

Injured: Nick Bjugstad (core muscle surgery), Sidney Crosby (core muscle surgery), Brian Dumoulin (ankle surgery), Jake Guentzel (shoulder surgery), Justin Schultz (lower body)


Coyotes projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Christian Dvorak -- Conor Garland

Clayton Keller -- Carl Soderberg -- Nick Schmaltz

Lawson Crouse -- Derek Stepan -- Phil Kessel

Vinnie Hinostroza -- Brad Richardson -- Christian Fischer

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Jordan Oesterle -- Ilya Lyubushkin

Adin Hill

Ivan Prosvetov

Scratched: Michael Grabner

Injured: Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg), Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body)


Status report

Rust scored in a 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday to tie his NHL career high with 18 goals in 30 games this season. He scored that many in 72 games last season. … Bjugstad and Schultz skated after practice Saturday. … Raanta missed the third period Friday because of a lower-body injury. … … The Coyotes did not practice Saturday.


Stat pack

Jarry is 7-1-1 with a shutout in his past nine games. … Malkin needs one assist to pass Jaromir Jagr (640) for third in Penguins history. ... Hall has 21 points (eight goals. 13 assists) in 17 games against Pittsburgh. 

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