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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT, November 17, 2022
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota  Attendance: 18,224

Wild, Penguins meet looking to prevent 3-game skids

Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild

  1. The Penguins are 6-0-1 in their last seven games against the Wild, including three wins in three games at Minnesota. Both Penguins-Wild games last season required more than 60 minutes to decide the outcome, with Minnesota winning the first game via a shootout and Pittsburgh the second in overtime.
  2. The Penguins have allowed five or more goals in six games this season, including each of their last two games (a 5-4 overtime loss at Montreal and 5-2 home loss to Toronto). The Blue Jackets (seven), Canucks (seven) and Ducks (six) are the only other NHL teams with at least a half-dozen games of five or more goals allowed this season.
  3. Sidney Crosby had three power-play assists over his first two games this season but he has no power-play points in 14 games since then. It's the longest power-play point drought of Crosby's NHL career, topping his 13-game streaks in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
  4. Jason Zucker, who played his first 456 NHL games for Minnesota, has no goals and three assists in the two games he's played against the Wild since they traded him to the Penguins on Feb. 10, 2020. Minnesota and Seattle (three games) are the only teams Zucker has never scored a goal against in his NHL career.
  5. The Wild scored 34 goals in their first 10 games this season but they've scored only eight goals in six games since then (2-3-1 record). It's Minnesota's lowest goal total over a six-game span since 2019 (March 25-April 6, also eight goals).
  6. Filip Gustavsson has allowed only five goals in his last three starts (1-1-1, 1.64 GAA, .947 save percentage). That's the fewest goals Gustavsson has given up over any three-start span in his brief NHL career (27 total starts).

The inability to get various aspects of the game clicking at the same time continue to plague both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Minnesota Wild.

Each club looks to avoid a third straight loss when they meet Thursday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

Pittsburgh opened the season on a 4-0-1 stretch, then endured an 0-6-1 rut before winning two in a row. The Penguins, though, have followed that mini-run of success with a 5-4 overtime loss at Montreal and Tuesday's 5-2 home defeat to Toronto.

Through 16 games, Pittsburgh has scored 56 goals and allowed 57. It's also just 2-for-22 on the power play over the last eight contests.

"I think we have moments in the game where we generate scoring chances, we're playing on our toes, we're dictating the terms out there," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "And then, there are lapses in the game where we break down -- the breakdowns are egregious, and they're hard to recover from."

Meanwhile, Minnesota dropped its first three games of the season, then followed with a 5-1-1 stretch. Since that spurt, the Wild are 2-3-1 -- and coming off consecutive losses to San Jose and Nashville. It's been a six-game span in which Minnesota has allowed 11 goals, but only scored eight and been shut out twice.

"We're not giving a lot to teams, obviously," Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. "We haven't given up a lot of goals against. We're doing a lot of good things in a lot of areas in the game.

"It's funny because you work on one thing, and it kind of gets corrected, and another pops up. But, that's what the season is for. That's what 82 games are for, and we're going to continue to grind at it."

Pittsburgh finds itself amid a 6-0-1 run against the Wild, who are off to a frustrating 2-4-1 start at home.

All that said, Minnesota star Kirill Kaprizov leads the team with 10 goals and 18 points. He recorded a goal in each of the Wild's two meetings with Pittsburgh last season.

Teammate Mats Zuccarello has a goal with three assists during his current four-game point streak. However, he has two goals for his only points over a seven-game stretch versus Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, ex-Penguin star Marc-Andre Fleury has stopped 80 of 83 shots despite losing two of his last three starts for Minnesota. Since leaving Pittsburgh after the 2016-17 season, Fleury is 4-3-0 with a 3.06 goals-against average against his former club.

Despite Pittsburgh's recent struggles, superstar Sidney Crosby has two goals with three assists in the last five games. He's totaled 28 points in 20 career games versus Minnesota.

Teammate Jake Guentzel has gone two straight contests without a point after recording a goal in four consecutive. However, Guentzel has a goal in each of his last three against the Wild.

Pittsburgh's Casey DeSmith, who made 28 saves Tuesday, has just two wins and a 2.86 GAA in seven starts this season. He's 4-0-0 with a 2.22 GAA all-time versus Minnesota.

Meanwhile, the Penguins' Tristan Jarry has a 4.77 GAA during his current 0-3-2 rut.

--Field Level Media

Updated November 16, 2022

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