Pittsburgh Penguins: Breaking Down Their November Schedule

Alison Myers@AlisonM_110Correspondent INovember 3, 2011

Pittsburgh Penguins: Breaking Down Their November Schedule

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins enter the month of November still without captain Sidney Crosby, but with a record of 8-3-2 for 18 points. The Pens sit at first place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

    Pittsburgh will kick off November with a brief road trip to the west coast and will have two meetings with division rivals. They will see a former teammate for the first time since he switched teams, and one of the players will have two opportunities to play against his brothers.

    Here is everything you need to know about the Pens' schedule before and after Thanksgiving.

Nov. 3: Penguins at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. EST

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    The Penguins start off this month with a visit to San Jose, where they will face the Sharks for the only time this year.

    Last year, the Sharks defeated the Pens by a score of 3-2 in overtime. Patrick Marleau scored two goals, and Tyler Kennedy scored both of the Penguins goals, including the tally that forced overtime. Matt Cooke and Logan Couture both had two-point nights, while James Neal and Matt Niskanen made their Penguins debuts.

    Antti Niemi made 24 saves on 26 shots, while Marc-Andre Fleury had 35 saves on 38 shots.

    San Jose has won 11 of the last 13 matchups between the teams, and is once again an offensive threat, so the Penguins will have their work cut out for them here.

Nov. 5: Penguins at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. EST

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    The Penguins and the Kings met once last season, and the Pens got a 2-1 overtime win on home ice.

    Brett Sterling scored in the first period for the Pens, and Jordan Staal scored twice, including the overtime game-winner with 19 seconds left in the extra frame. 

    Jarrett Stoll scored the Kings' only goal.

    Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves for the Pens, while Jonathan Quick took the loss with 24 stops.

    The win also marked the 100th career win for head coach Dan Bylsma, while former Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since the 2009 Stanley Cup championship.

Nov. 11: Dallas Stars at Penguins, 7 p.m. EST

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    This game will mark the first time defenseman Alex Goligoski will play in Pittsburgh since being traded to the Stars last season. He was part of the deal that sent Matt Niskanen and James Neal to the Penguins.

    Goligoski had 15 points in 23 games after being traded, and this year, he has four points and a minus-three through 11 games. 

    The Stars took last season's matchup by a score of 5-3. Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke scored for Pittsburgh, but Loui Eriksson led the Stars with two goals, including one on a penalty shot. Stephane Robidas, Brad Richards and Steve Ott also scored for Dallas.

    Sidney Crosby fought Niskanen, but Crosby's attempt to fire up the Pens didn't work. The Stars got their first win against the Penguins since 2003.

    Also playing for Dallas is former Penguins forward Toby Petersen. Petersen played 91 games in Pittsburgh from 2000 through 2002 and had 26 points and a minus-12 rating.

    The Penguins will travel to Dallas in February for a rematch.

Nov. 12: Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. EST

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    The Penguins and the Hurricanes will meet for the first time this season on Nov. 12, so hopefully by then, you understand that Eric and Jordan Staal are brothers.

    With that out of the way, let's not forget that the Penguins defeated the Hurricanes in three of four matchups last year, including a shutout last October and a shootout win last November. The Canes did not get a win until the last meeting of the year in February.

    For the Pens, Pascal Dupuis had four goals over last season's series. Jussi Jokinen added six points over two matchups for the Canes.

    The two teams have three more meetings scheduled this year, including two next month.

Nov. 15: Colorado Avalanche at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. EST

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    Last season, the Penguins got their first win over the Avalanche in Denver since 1999.

    Joe Vitale got his first NHL goal in last February's game, and Jordan Staal also contributed a tally. However, it was Tyler Kennedy who played hero, as he scored a power-play goal to help the Pens win in overtime.

    Chris Stewart and Cameron Gaunce scored for the Avs, but Stewart was traded to the St. Louis Blues, while Gaunce is currently with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.

    This will be the first game between the two teams this season, as the Penguins will travel to Colorado in March.

Nov. 17: Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. EST

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    The Nov. 17 game between the Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be the first game between the two teams since the Bolts eliminated the Pens in last year's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Penguins dropped a 3-1 series lead to the Lightning, who went on to be the Cinderella story of the playoffs.

    The two teams split the four games last year, and the highlight of the series (shown above) was the Penguins' 8-1 blowout victory over the Lightning in January. Chris Kunitz had a hat trick in the win, while Kris Letang had three assists.

    That was also the last game Sidney Crosby played in before he was forced out of the lineup due to a concussion.

    The Penguins and the Lightning will play three more times this year, with two games scheduled in February.

Nov. 19: Penguins at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. EST

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    The Penguins will travel to South Florida for their second matchup with the Panthers this year. Pittsburgh won the first game, their home opener, by a score of 4-2. Joe Vitale had two points, and four different players scored for the Pens.

    The Pens also swept last year's season series. Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal led the way with three points over four games, while Mike Weaver had two assists. Other players who contributed for the Panthers are no longer with the team.

    Hopefully, this will be an easy win for Pittsburgh.

    After this game, the Penguins and Panthers will face off in January and March.

Nov. 21: New York Islanders at Penguins, 7 p.m. EST

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    This will be the third time the Penguins meet the Islanders this season. Pittsburgh won both games at home back in October, as they shut out the Isles 3-0 on Oct. 25 and won 3-2 in a shootout on Oct. 27.

    In last season's meetings, the Pens won four of the six games, including two shutouts. Although last year's series included moments such as the brawl back on Feb. 11 and Penguins goalie Brent Johnson fighting the often-injured Rick DiPietro, this year's games have been relatively quiet.

    Pascal Dupuis has starred for the Penguins, as he has three points against the Isles this season. 

    After this game, the Pens and the Isles will play three more times this year.

Nov. 23: St. Louis Blues at Penguins, 7 p.m. EST

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    The St. Louis Blues will come to Pittsburgh the night before Thanksgiving to look for their second win in a row over the Penguins. The Blues won last season's meeting by a score of 1-0 in overtime.

    Erik Johnson, who has since been traded to the Avalanche, scored 50 seconds into overtime to secure the win. T.J. Oshie and David Backes had the assists, and Jaroslav Halak got the shutout with 31 saves.

    The Penguins won the meeting in 2009-10 by a score of 5-1. Matt Cooke and Kris Letang each had two points in the win.

    This is the first of two meetings between the teams this year. The Penguins will travel to St. Louis in January.

Nov. 25: Ottawa Senators at Penguins, 7 p.m. EST

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    The Penguins and the Senators will meet for the first time this season on Black Friday, and the Senators will be shopping for revenge. Last season, the Penguins took three out of the four matchups between the teams.

    Tyler Kennedy and Chris Kunitz scored four points over the course of the series, while Erik Karlsson led Ottawa, also posting four points.

    The two teams will meet three more times this year after next month's game. Their next matchup after this one sees the Pens travel to Ottawa a week before Christmas.

Nov. 26: Penguins at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m. EST

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    This is the second meeting between the Penguins and the Canadiens this year. The Pens won the first game back on Oct. 20 by a score of 3-1. James Neal, Joe Vitale and Arron Asham scored for Pittsburgh, and Deryk Engelland had two assists.

    Last year, the teams played four times, with Montreal winning three of the four games. Their victories included a 2-1 shootout win in January and a 3-0 shutout in March.

    Kris Letang led the Penguins with three points in the four games, while Michael Cammalleri led Montreal with four points.

    The Habs and the Penguins will square off two more times after this game, with matchups scheduled in January and February.

Nov. 29: Penguins at New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m. EST

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    This game will mark the first meeting between the Penguins and the Rangers this season. New York boasts former Penguins forwards Erik Christensen, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Rupp, so this will be a reunion of sorts for the squads.

    Last year, the Atlantic Division rivals met six times, with the Rangers winning four games. New York put up five goals on Pittsburgh on two occasions, and they also won in overtime back in November 2010.

    Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan each had eight points over the series, while Pascal Dupuis posted four points.

    The Pens and the Rangers have five more meetings scheduled for this year, including two matchups in January.

    By the way, Marc and Jordan Staal are brothers. Bet you didn't know that.