Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Minnesota Wild at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins are currently riding a six game winning streak, and look to continue this streak tonight at home. The Penguins have 24 points and are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Minnesota will be rolling into town with 21 points and a fifth place spot in the Western Conference, and will be looking to overtake the Northwest Division lead with a win tonight on the road.
The Penguins will be without starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who is out with an undisclosed injury that he suffered in the third period of their victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Dany Sabourin will get the nod tonight and will try to help his team win yet another game. Sabourin has been playing great hockey so far this year as the backup to Fleury.
He has posted great numbers with a record of 3-1, a save percentage of .942, and a goals against at 1.68. He is a very good back-up, and the Penguins players know they can rely on him to help them win games as well.
It looks as if tonight the Penguins new defensemen Phillipe Boucher will debut playing alongside fellow defenseman Alex Goligoski.
I like the move to get Boucher playing right away, which will allow him to get game experience with the team. This will let him get adjusted much quicker than he would if was being scratched for a couple of games and had to gain the experience through practice.
The Penguins biggest trouble tonight will be the man between the pipes for the Wild, Niklas Backstrom. Backstrom has been playing outstanding hockey so far, posting a 10-3-1 record, 2.00 GAA, and a .934 save percentage.
If the Penguins want to win tonight, they are going to have to get plenty of shots on net early and often. Along with this they will need capitalize on the power-play. If they can score goals on the power-play it will be a great advantage, because I do not see them scoring too many tonight on even strength.
The Penguins are playing as a complete team right now, and that is what they had been lacking in the early stages of the season. The team was getting goals only from their top line, and were struggling to win games.
Now the Penguins seem to have things figured out for the time being, and are getting great play from everybody. The person that has improved the most is clearly Jordan Staal who has finally turned the switch on, and is playing hockey like people thought he could.
The Penguins are playing great hockey for the past two weeks, and tonight they will be put to the test as they play a very talented hockey team. I believe that their team chemistry and goal-tending will help them pull out a win; a victory would pull them within four points of those pesky Rangers, who seem to keep just out of reach.
I say the Penguins win tonight's game 4-2, and take their streak to seven games in a row before heading to Atlanta on Thursday.