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Preview: Penguins at Canucks

Pittsburgh seeks fifth straight win; Vancouver looks to gain in wild-card race

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

PENGUINS (42-16-8) at CANUCKS (28-30-9)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, ROOT, NHL.TV

 

Penguins team scope

Matt Murray is expected to be in goal when the Pittsburgh Penguins try to extend their winning streak to five games against the Vancouver Canucks. Marc-Andre Fleury made 40 saves in a 3-2 shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday and Pittsburgh has split starts on back-to-back games this season when both goalies are healthy. The Penguins, who had three players and Fleury take part in the morning skate on Saturday, are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for second in the Metropolitan Division. Murray is 8-1-2 in his last 11 decisions but allowed four goals on 35 shots in his last start, a 7-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, and was pulled after giving up three goals on 21 shots in his previous start against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. The Penguins have won the first two games of a five-game road trip that continues against the Calgary Flames on Monday. Former Canucks center Nick Bonino has four goals in two games, and has four goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.

 

Canucks team scope

Vancouver is eight points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "Our group has shown a lot of resiliency but this is going to be another really tough matchup for sure," coach Willie Desjardins said. The Canucks recalled forwards Alexandre Grenier and Joseph Labate from Utica of the American Hockey League after left wing Brendan Gaunce sustained an upper-body injury in a 4-3 overtime loss against the New York Islanders on Thursday and with right wing Nikolay Goldobin out for a second straight game with the flu. Vancouver played with 11 forwards against the Islanders and used defenseman Alex Biega as a fourth-line right wing. Grenier, who was called up Friday, played two games with the Canucks in February, and six games last season but does not have a point in the NHL. "I'm not saying it's easy but the nerves from my first game aren't the same nerves now," Grenier said. "You always want to make an impression and it's a mental grind where you want to show to them you want to stick and you can stick." Labate, who played in five games with the Canucks this season, was recalled on Saturday and is expected to arrive in time to play. "He was physical and I thought that was good for us," Desjardins said.

 

Penguins projected lineup

Chris Kunitz -- Sidney Crosby -- Conor Sheary

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Nick Bonino -- Jake Guentzel

Carter Rowney -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin -- Justin Schultz

Mark Streit -- Ron Hainsey

Ian Cole -- Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Cameron Gaunce

Injured: Matt Cullen (undisclosed), Bryan Rust (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body), Patric Hornqvist (concussion)

Suspended: Tom Sestito

 

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Markus Granlund

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Reid Boucher

Alexandre Grenier -- Brandon Sutter -- Jayson Megna

Joseph Cramarossa -- Michael Chaput -- Joseph Labate

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev

Ben Hutton -- Nikita Tryamkin

Ryan Miller

Richard Bachman

Scratched: Philip Larsen, Alex Biega

Injured: Brendan Gaunce (upper body), Nikolay Goldobin (flu), Loui Eriksson (knee), Jacob Markstrom (lower body), Jack Skille (groin), Anton Rodin (knee), Erik Gudbranson (wrist surgery), Derek Dorsett (neck surgery)

 

Status report

Cullen, who missed the game Friday, took part in the morning skate although it's unclear if he will play. Sundqvist replaced him as the fourth-line center on Friday. … Markstrom has missed seven games since he was injured during the Canucks Super Skills even on Feb. 26 but skated before the rest of the team on Saturday. "Today was kind of a test day, they pushed him harder to see how he is going to respond," Desjardins said.

 

Who's hot

Malkin has scored a goal in four straight games and has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past four games. ... Schultz has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past four games. … Horvat has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games and leads the Canucks with 20 goals and 47 points.

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