The Pittsburgh Penguins invade the RBC tonight to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in a battle between the NHL's hottest teams. A lot will be on the line as both teams could clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win.
The similarities between the teams are striking. Both have 11-1-2 records since March 1st. Both teams changed coaches during the season because of sub-par performance. Both teams made major acquisitions before the trade deadline, which have been vital to their winning streaks.
And now, only one point separates the two in the standings.
The Penguins acquired Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz, and both have been nearly a point a game players since they joined the team. They are joined by the ever dangerous Sid Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who do most of the scoring damage for the visitors. Goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury has been solid for them as well.
|2008 - Evgeni Malkin||77||34||74||108||19||78||14||2||4||0||273||12.5|
|2008 - Sidney Crosby||72||30||69||99||9||69||4||0||3||2||219||13.7|
|2008 - Marc-Andre Fleury||58||3402||33||17||6||5||150||2.65||1727||1577||.913||4|
For more information about them, be sure to check out PensBurgh, the excellent blog covering the Pens on SBN.
The Hurricanes will be starting Cam Ward for the 26th straight game. The goalie was named the NHL's number one star for the month of March for his outstanding play. The team will need another stand out performance from him tonight.
|2008 - Cam Ward||65||3777||37||22||5||10||154||2.45||1841||1687||.916||5|
The Canes are led by Ray Whitney and Eric Staal, who have considerably lower numbers than the Pittsburgh stars, but the Canes have a much more balanced scoring attack than the Pens do.
|2008 - Ray Whitney||78||24||47||71||2||32||7||0||2||2||211||11.4|
|2008 - Eric Staal||78||35||34||69||10||50||13||1||8||0||354||9.9|
The Hurricanes are riding high on a franchise record 10 game winning streak on home ice, and have won seven in a row overall.
Rod Brind'Amour currently has a seven game scoring streak.
Look for the lines to be the same as Thursday night, except that Tim Conboy might fill in for Ryan Bayda and Patrick Eaves might be questionable after blocking a shot during the Rangers game. Eaves practiced yesterday, so he might be able to play.
Matt Cullen will remain out because of his foot injury.
- Staal, Ruutu, Cole
- Jokinen, Whitney, LaRose
- Brind'Amour, Samsonov, (Eaves or Bayda or Walker)
- Helminen, Conboy, Walker
- Corvo, Gleason
- Pitkanen, Babchuk
- Seidenberg, Wallin
The Canes are currently one point ahead of the Pens in the standings as they sit in fifth and sixth positions, respectively. If you were waiting until game time tonight to get your tickets, think again. Very few seats are available and this game will be standing room only, by time the puck drops.
And some people thought that Caniacs would prefer to stay home and watch the Tarheels in the final four tonight? Give your heads a shake!
The contest will be broadcast by FS Carolinas (as long as there is not a tennis match going on), Gametime is at 7PM.
Canes Now: The Conboys have a new son, Gunnar Price Conboy, who was born during the Rangers game on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh Tribune Review: "Fedotenko probable against Canes".
Fan 960 Blog: "Random thoughts from on the road". Traveling reporter from Calgary gives props to Carolina.
"As far as fans go I thought the best buildings that I saw for fans this year on the road had to be San Jose, Nashville (again just not enough of them), and by far and a way Carolina."
London Free Press: Rutherford explains that he hired Maurice because of his qualifications, not because of friendship.