Carolina Hurricanes @ Pittsburgh Penguins: Game Preview 10-8-13

Jamie Kellner

The Hurricanes take their show on the road tonight as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.


Carolina Hurricanes at Pittsburgh Penguins
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 7:00 pm EDT
CONSOL Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 The Fan

SB Nation Rival Blog: Pensburgh (twitter @Pensburgh)

Hurricanes Record: 1-0-1 (3 pts.)
Penguins Record: 2-0-0 (4 pts.)

How befitting that the Carolina Hurricanes were at the park yesterday to witness a team defend a 2-1 lead in the late stages of a game against a surging opponent. National League MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen at the plate at the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the tying run on base certainly made for late-game drama, but (sadly for this Pirates fan) the Cardinals prevailed and the NLDS will have to wait another day.

The Canes are in Pittsburgh for the first of a two-game road trip. This will be the first away game of the young season, and it couldn't come against a tougher opponent. The Penguins are early favorites among prognosticators to win the Metropolitan Division and contend for the Stanley Cup. They are undefeated in their first two games and are looking for their third straight win on home ice. The Hurricanes have never won at CONSOL, going back to the 2010-11 season when the arena opened.

The Hurricanes are coming off a 2-1 win against the Flyers on Sunday night, and head coach Kirk Muller doesn't intend to mess with a good thing, keeping the lines intact in Monday's practice. Of concern was the status of forward Elias Lindholm, who left during the third period Sunday with an upper body injury and skated in a no-contact jersey as a precaution on Monday. Indications are that Lindholm could play tonight but will remain under evaluation.

Tuomo Ruutu also joined the team at yesterday's practice (also in a no-contact jersey) and participated in limited drills and extended conditioning. He remains on injured reserve but is traveling with the team on the road trip and could be available soon. Tim Gleason, who is recovering from a concussion, is also traveling with the team but has not returned to the ice.

Cam Ward gets the start in net tonight.

Kirk Muller audio from Monday's practice: [link]

Expected line-up (Hurricanes web site):

Forwards

Jiri Tlusty

Eric Staal

Alexander Semin

Nathan Gerbe

Jordan Staal

Patrick Dwyer

Jeff Skinner

Riley Nash

Radek Dvorak

Brett Sutter

Elias Lindholm

Drayson Bowman

Kevin Westgarth

Defensemen

Andrej Sekera

Justin Faulk

Jay Harrison

Ryan Murphy

Brett Bellemore

Ron Hainsey

Mike Komisarek

Goaltenders

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Injuries: Forward Tuomo Ruutu (IR - lower body), defensemen Tim Gleason (IR - concussion) and Joni Pitkanen (LTIR - broken left heel bone)

The Penguins last played on Saturday night in a 4-1 home win against the Buffalo Sabres. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury answered critics of his 2013 playoff performance by coming within 4:54 minutes of back-to-back shutouts. His 115:06 shutout sequence to begin the season is the longest in franchise history and earned him NHL third star of the week honors.

There are a lot of familiar faces on the Penguins roster between the veterans who met in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals and the three ex-Canes on the roster. Backup netminder Jeff Zatkoff spent time in the off-season skating with several Canes players at Raleigh Center Ice.

Sidney Crosby has scored two goals in two games. Evgeni Malkin has not yet found the twine but he has never gone three games into a season without scoring.

Expected lines:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - Beau Bennett
Dustin Jeffrey - Brandon Sutter - Chuck Kobasew
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi - Matt Niskanen
Olli Maatta - Robert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury
Jeff Zatkoff

Injuries: Forwards James Neal (week to week, upper body) and Matt D'Agostini (IR - lower body), defenseman Kris Letang (IR - lower body), goaltender Tomas Vokoun (IR - blood clot)

We'll have the game thread open at 6:30 pm. See you there.

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