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Penguins at Wild preview

Pittsburgh goes for third straight win; Cullen to face former team for first time since signing with Minnesota

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

PENGUINS (7-3-1) at WILD (3-3-2)



The Game

Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cullen will face his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Cullen signed a one-year, $1 million contract with Minnesota on Aug. 16 and has one assist in eight games this season. He had 63 points (29 goals, 34 assists) in two seasons with Pittsburgh.

The Penguins begin a five-game road trip. This is the first game of a back-to-back; they are at the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

Pittsburgh has won its past two games and is 5-1-0 in its past six.


Players to watch

Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (7-0-1) is looking for his eighth straight win after an overtime loss on opening night. His last loss in regulation was 4-1 to the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 5.

Wild forward Jason Zucker has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past seven games.


They said it

"Every night you expect a team's best. The League is so tight, and I think knowing that we need to make sure mentally we're ready. We've had some tough losses on back-to-back nights where maybe our game wasn't quite there and we found out pretty quickly that you can't have nights like that and expect to get points. I think we just have to be ready every night." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

"It's always a great test. If it doesn't get your blood boiling a bit when you're playing the Stanley Cup champions and the best player in the world [Sidney Crosby], we're in the wrong business. It's an exciting thought to be able to test them here, but if we're not ready it's a scary team. They can feed you your lunch pretty quick." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Conor Sheary

Bryan Rust -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Carl Hagelin -- Riley Sheahan -- Patric Hornqvist

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Greg McKegg -- Ryan Reaves

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Chad Ruhwedel

Ian Cole -- Zach Trotman

Matt Murray

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Josh Archibald, Frank Corrado

Injured: Matt Hunwick (concussion), Carter Rowney (hand), Justin Schultz (concussion)


Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Tyler Ennis -- Eric Staal -- Luke Kunin

Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Chris Stewart

Daniel Winnik -- Matt Cullen -- Zack Mitchell

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Mike Reilly -- Jonas Brodin

Kyle Quincey -- Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Gustav Olofsson

Injured: Zach Parise (back), Charlie Coyle (fibula), Nino Niederreiter (ankle), Landon Ferraro (hip)


Status report

Niederreiter has been practicing with the Wild this week and is expected to return to the lineup against the Jets on Tuesday.


Stat pack

Kessel has nine points (three goals, six assists) in the past seven games. Malkin has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the past five games. … Staal has seven points (four goals, three assists) in the past seven games. Spurgeon has four points (one goal, three assists) in the past three games.

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