Pens Host Dangerous, Desperate Dallas Friday Night

Stars enter game at 1-6-1 this season

Josh Rowntree
October 18, 2019 - 11:29 am
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) celebrate after defeating the Anaheim Ducks at PPG PAINTS Arena. Pittsburgh won 2-1.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While the 2019-2020 NHL season still remains in its infancy, there is growing concern in Dallas. And the Stars will be in search of a season-turning win Friday night at PPG Paints Arena. 

Dallas is 1-6-1, having lost four straight since beating Washington  ten days ago. 

The Penguins know that a desperate team is waiting.

“They’re a good hockey team,” defenseman Justin Schultz said. “You look at their lineup and it’s going to be a tough matchup. They’re looking to get off the schneid. There’s no easy games in the NHL anymore. It’s going to be tough. We’ve just got to continue what we’re doing, working hard and playing our game and we should be fine.”

The Penguins come in having won four straight, sitting at 5-2 following Wednesday’s overtime win over Colorado, and have a marquee matchup against Marc Andre-Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday night. But Pittsburgh's recent success does not mean they can overlook Dallas.

“We’ve been through those situations before,” defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. “We know the effort that it takes to win in this league, especially when you’re struggling. That’s what we’re going to expect out of them. 

One area of struggle for Dallas has been on the man-advantage. The Stars had the 11th best power play in the NHL last year. It currently sits 29th in the NHL, having connected on just 4.2 percent of opportunities. 

“They’re a dangerous team and they can be one of the top teams this league,” Dumoulin added. “They’ve got a deadly power play also, so we need to be ready for them.”

A year ago, the Stars finished with 93 points, earning the first wild card in the Western Conference. 

Dallas is a team with several stars. But, generally, there has been a lack of production from the likes of Tyler Seguin (four points), Jamie Benn (two points), Alexander Radulov (four points) and Joe Pavelski (two points). 

“When you look at their lineup, they’re a very, very good team,” winger Dominik Kahun said. “Sometimes it’s just hard to get points. We know dangerous they are. Of course, they want to get going, so we need to be ready for them.”

Injury Notes

A trio of injured Penguins players were on the ice for the team’s morning skate Friday.

Forwards Bryan Rust and Nick Bjugstad, as well as defenseman Zach Trotman, took part in the optional practice. 

Rust has not played in a game this season after being hit in the hand by a shot in a preseason game. 

Bjugstad has played in just two games. Trotman, likely the Penguins’ seventh defenseman when healthy, has not played yet this season, as well.

All three players wore grey, non-contact jerseys during the skate, but did not speak to the media afterwards.

Hear from Penguins coach Mike Sullivan below.