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Game Preview: Pens-Panthers

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

Game Date

Thursday, February 7, 2019


Florida Panthers

Game Time

7 PM


BB&T Center


AT&T SportsNet


105.9 FM, the X


* Penguins goaltender Matt Murray did not practice on Wednesday, and head coach Mike Sullivan said he was being evaluated for an upper-body injury. The team recalled Tristan Jarry on an emergency basis from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Penguins are not holding a morning skate, so Sullivan will give injury updates when he meets with the media two hours prior to puck drop.

(UPDATE: Murray will not dress tonight. Casey DeSmith will start and Jarry will back up).

* This matchup comes less than a week after the two teams completed a big trade. On Friday, the Penguins acquired forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann in exchange for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan and three 2019 draft picks. 

* That morning, Bjugstad and McCann were preparing to face Nashville when they learned about the trade. They were able to get from Florida to Pittsburgh in time for the Penguins' game against Ottawa that night

* While McCann's time in Florida was relatively brief, Bjugstad was a six-year fixture in Florida after the team drafted him in the first round (19th overall) in 2010 - ranking inside the club's top-15 lists for games, goals and points. "It's going to be a little different, obviously I was there for a while," Bjugstad said of facing his former team. "Just go out and don't overthink, I know every player pretty well down there so just have fun with it. I've never been on that side of the bench, so hopefully we can get the win and just try to do my best."

* Bjugstad and McCann have played in three games for Pittsburgh. Brassard, who wears No. 25, and Sheahan, who wears No. 15, have dressed in two games for Florida, making their Panthers debuts on Feb. 2 versus Vegas.  

* The Penguins are 10-1-3 in their last 14 games against Florida, a run that dates back to Dec. 20, 2014. They are 4-1-2 in their last 7 visits to the BB&T Center.

* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be skating in his 915th career game tonight, tying Hall of Fame owner Mario Lemieux for the franchise record for games played.

* Penguins center Matt Cullen will be skating in his 1,488th career game tonight, passing Wayne Gretzky for sole possession of 22nd place on the NHL's all-time games played list.

* Penguins winger Phil Kessel is within 2 points of becoming the 17th American-born player to reach 800 points.

* Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is one goal shy of setting the franchise record for most goals by a blueliner.

* Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov has scored in each of his last 2 games. He has 11 points (4G-7A) in his last 13 games and leads the team with 50 points. He was one of three players benched by head coach Bob Boughner when the Penguins beat the Panthers by a score of 5-1 on Jan. 8, along with Mike Hoffman and Keith Yandle. Those guys will certainly be looking for redemption tonight.


PIT - Zach Aston-Reese (upper-body), Evgeni Malkin (upper-body), Justin Schultz (left leg fracture).

FLA - Derek MacKenzie (upper-body).

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