The Canucks begin a busy December schedule with a six-game home position, beginning with the rowdy Pittsburgh Penguins.

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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

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(10-8-5, fourth in the Metropolitan Division)

at VANCOUVER CANUCKS

(8-14-2, eighth in the Pacific Division)

Saturday, 7 pm, Rogers Arena.

TV: CBC, Sportsnet. Radio: Sportsnet 650 AM.

WHY SEE

Have the Vancouver Canucks doubled up or just taken advantage of two of the league’s last few feeders to beat the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens on the road this week? The Pittsburgh Penguins outshined the Canucks last week, but they are not firing at full steam, having dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak in training camp and on the season, losing superstar Sidney Crosby for a long period and still waiting for Evgeni Malkin to adapt. for the first time this season. They are a different looking group than we are used to.

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POINT LEADERS

Penguins

1. Jake Guentzel GP 22 G 10 A 10 PTS 20 (-5)

2. Evan Rodrigues GP 23 G 8 A 8 PTS 16 (Pair)

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3. Kasperi Kapanen GP 23 G 4 A 9 PTS 13 (+2)

CANUCKS

1. JT Miller GP 24 G 8 A 15 PTS 23 (-2)

2. Quinn Hughes GP 23 G 2 A 18 PTS 20 (+4)

3. Conor Garland GP 24 G 7 A 11 PTS 17 (+3)


SPECIAL TEAMS

PENGUINS: PP 13.6% (27th) PK 91.4% (1st)

CANUCKS: PP 18.1% (20th) PK 64.5% (32nd)


THREE THINGS ABOUT THE OPPOSITION

• Who are these guys : Penguins have controlled the game in most of their games, creating far more scoring opportunities than their opponents. But since their 4-1 win over the Canucks on Nov. 24, things have gone wrong and they aren’t creating as many scoring opportunities. They remain a strong defensive group, and the Canucks have struggled to reach the net against teams like this.

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Star health: Malkin is still working his way back from offseason knee surgery, but he’s on the road. His return to the lineup remains a question mark, as he has yet to participate in contact drills. Crosby has played just 11 games this season. He missed the first seven games after wrist surgery and returned only a few days when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Crosby is back scoring points, a welcome sign for a team that had eight players and head coach Mike Sullivan on COVID protocol.

Special Equipment Problems: The Penguins’ power play has struggled all season, but they haven’t even been generating shots lately. And the penalty, which is still the best in the league, has been bloody shots against. Still, they haven’t allowed a power play goal in eight games and have killed 22 consecutive opposition power plays.

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Reference-theprovince.com

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