Rogers Arena Vancouver

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Vancouver Canucks Pick & Prediction DEC 4TH 2021

NHL | HOCKEY
TV: Sportsnet | City TV | TVAS | CBC | ATTSN
Logo Pittsburgh Penguins
VS
Logo Vancouver Canucks
0
OPENNER
5.5

-1.5 +173
CURRENT
5.5o -110

-140
MONEYLINE
+120

4
SCORE
1

A two-game winning streak is not cause for a party, but it has the Vancouver Canucks feeling better heading into Saturday night's home clash with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Thanks to Wednesday's 6-2 road win over the Ottawa Senators, the Canucks have won consecutive games for only the second time this season.

"It's easy to say, 'Stay confident, be confident,' but at the end of the day, when you're really working and skating and competing on a puck, confidence comes from that," Vancouver coach Travis Green said. "Sometimes, you get an ugly goal and all of a sudden feel good about yourself. There's certain indicators with every player, and they're not all the same.

"It's not as simple as saying, 'Work hard, you'll get confidence.' It doesn't just happen because you want it to happen."

The Canucks remain at the bottom of the Pacific Division and must build a much longer streak to get within viewing distance of the playoff picture.

"It's a big game for us and we have a little momentum," forward Conor Garland said. "But we dug ourselves a hole and have to string some wins together.

"We just got to keep playing well, play fast; we know when we're good and when we're not good. It's a big test, one of the best players in the world with (Sidney) Crosby, so it will be a big match up."

Garland, acquired via trade form the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason, has certainly been doing his part. He has collected two goals and two assists in the last three games.

"We knew we were getting a crafty player that can create something out of nothing, especially in the offensive zone when he gets the puck," Green said. "I think he's come as advertised."

The Penguins enter Saturday's matchup having dropped three straight games, including the first two in a five-game road swing.

Their 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday was tied going into the third period.

"We had some good pressure, some good zone time for most of the night. You give them any opening and they take advantage of it. ... It's a fine line," Crosby said. "We did a lot of good things. It's too bad we had a couple of those pucks that end up going for two-on-ones. Sometimes they miss the net or puck hits something, but they executed really well and made the most of them."

Though he might not deserve much of the blame for the performance against the Oilers, goalie Tristan Jarry surrendered four goals, which snapped his run of surrendering two or less in seven straight games -- a stretch in which he allowed only five goals.

It would not be a surprise if he bounces back.

Amid their struggles, the Penguins have a couple of key forwards on a tear. Crosby, who returned from offseason surgery and then a bout with COVID-19, is riding a four-game point streak in which he's collected one goal and five assists. That pales in comparison to Jake Guentzel's run, an 11-game streak that's seen him get seven goals and five assists.

Guentzel, who had some early-season struggles of his own, has points in all 11 road games.

"The puck just goes in sometimes like that, and finds you in some different ways," he said. "I'm just trying to throw pucks on net and get it on the net, and it's going in right now. So that's just the game of hockey sometimes -- you get the bounces and you just kind of feed off it when they're going in."

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Pittsburgh Penguins
4
3
Vancouver Canucks

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Vancouver Canucks

Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 Saturday night.

Jake Virtanen and Brock Boeser also scored for the Canucks, who won their second in a row, and goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves.

Jake Guentzel scored for the Penguins, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. Goalie Matt Murray, starting for the first time in six games, stopped 10 of Vancouver's season-low 14 shots.

Vancouver scored power-play goals 1:50 apart late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.

The Canucks got a two-man advantage after Pittsburgh's Brandon Tanev was called for holding Quinn Hughes at 13:05 of the period and Jack Johnson tripped Brock Boeser at 13:51.

Virtanen opened the scoring at 15:10 on the 5-on-3, taking a pass from Tyler Myers and blasting a slap shot from just above the left faceoff dot into the far top corner of the net.

Miller scored at the 17-minute mark, redirecting a pass from Oscar Fantenberg past Murray.

The Penguins were held without a shot on goal in the first period.

Pittsburgh closed within 2-1 as Guentzel buried a rebound off a point shot by Jared McCann on the power play at 15:28 of the second. It was Guentzel's 18th goal of the season.

Pettersson restored the two-goal margin just 44 seconds later, skating back toward center ice to corral the rebound of a Myers shot and snapping a one-timer into the upper right corner of the net from the right faceoff circle. It was Pettersson's fifth goal in the past six games.

Boeser capped the scoring at 14:31 of the third off a feed from Pettersson.

The Canucks played without forward Josh Leivo, who suffered a fractured kneecap Thursday against Vegas and will be out for the next two to three months. Loui Eriksson, who had been scratched from the previous seven games, replaced Leivo.

--Field Level Media

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