The Arizona Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at PPG Paints Arena.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, December 12, 2016
Where: PPG PAINTS Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
|1||ARIZONA||0 (-110)||5.5 (-110)||250
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TVAS, FSN Arizona, ROOT (Pittsburgh)
PREDICTION: Penguins 5, Coyotes 2
Oddsmakers currently have the Penguins listed as 340-moneyline favorites versus the Coyotes, while the game’s total is sitting at 5½.
PITTSBURGH — Both teams are coming off meaningful wins Saturday night, but the Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes are in markedly different places going into their game on Monday at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins staged yet another comeback for their season-high fifth win in a row, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in Tampa, Fla., and are near the top of the NHL standings.
The Coyotes broke a season-long six-game losing streak (0-4-2) with a 4-1 win over Nashville but remain near the bottom of the league standings.
Pittsburgh has a fully healthy roster and is getting great production from its stars. Sidney Crosby leads the league with 20 goals (in 22 games) and, with 31 points, is an early challenger for the Art Ross Trophy. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel are on Crosby’s heels with 30 points each.
Crosby and Malkin each scored twice and Kessel and Kris Letang each had three assists Saturday, when the Penguins overcame a two-goal deficit for the 14th time in Mike Sullivan’s 51 wins since he took over as coach a year ago Monday.
It was also the league-leading sixth time Pittsburgh has won when trailing after two periods.
“We shouldn’t make a habit of (falling behind), but we believe we can score when we’re playing the right way,” Crosby said.
Pittsburgh was 5-5-1 in its 11 games before this winning streak, which has the players feeling nearly invincible.
“We have lots of confidence,” Malkin said. “We know we can score two, three goals if we’re losing after the second. We have a good feeling. We come back to the ice and it doesn’t matter. Play our hockey.”
That’s easier with an intact club. The Penguins have lost several players to injury for periods of time, including Crosby, Letang, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Kunitz and Matt Murray, the young goalie who seems likely to start Monday. Now they are at a point where it is just a matter of determining who will be healthy scratches.
“To have a full complement of players makes our decisions difficult, but they’re good challenges to have,” Sullivan said.
Arizona has different challenges.
Winger Max Domi, second on the team with 16 points, is out on what the club calls a week-to-week basis because of an upper-body injury.
“He was coming around after a bit of a slow start, but he creates a lot of chances,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told the Arizona Republic. “He’s an impact player, so when you lose a guy like that, it’s opportunity for other guys. But when you lose top players like that, you have to overcome it.”
The Coyotes did that Saturday with a lot of help from their youth.
Rookies Laurent Dauphin (one goal), Brendan Perlini (one goal), Lawson Crouse (one assist), Jakob Chychrun (one assist) and Tyler Gaudet (one assist) combined for five points.
“That’s we’re hoping for,” Tippett said. “We need to get these young players up and going, as well as have our veterans kind of lead the charge for us.”
Still, the Coyotes are trying to sort things out with their lineup, particularly in search of offense. Their win Saturday marked their first time scoring four goals in more than a month. They made Anthony Duclair and Michael Stone, normally regulars, healthy scratches against the Predators.
Before Domi got hurt, Arizona lost center Brad Richardson for an extended time because of two broken leg bones.
At least partly in response to that, the Coyotes acquired Peter Holland in a trade with Toronto last week and on Sunday claimed Josh Jooris off waivers from the Rangers. Both could make their Arizona debut against Pittsburgh.