|Division Rank||7th Metro||1st Metro|
|Conference Rank||14th EC||2nd EC|
|Streak||Won 1||Lost 1|
|Power Play %||21.1%||32.9%|
|Penalty Kill %||82.3%||86.2%|
|ES Goals For %||43.4%||60.0%|
|ES Corsi For %||51.5%||52.1%|
|ES Save Percentage||.899||.918|
|ES Save Percentage||.911||.930|
[Editorial comment... In an effort not to upset the mojo, I'm going to re-post what I wrote yesterday since it appears to have worked, and just add relevant updates. After all, the forms must be obeyed]
- The Carolina Hurricanes have lost three in a row and six out of their last ten. They've been held to one goal twice and shut out twice in that span. They are on pace for 59 points. Seems like a perfect time to play back-to-back games against one of the best teams in the NHL. Update: And it was! And the Canes are now on pace for 63 points.
- The Penguins rank first in total goals scored, goals per game, and power play percentage (33.3%). Three out of the top 10 points leaders in the NHL are on their roster, and Sidney Crosby, who just earned his 800th career NHL point Wednesday night, occupies the top spot. Just one game prior, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury celebrated his milestone 300th career NHL win. Update: The Pens still lead in those categories, just not by as much. And they are now tied for worst in the league in PIMS/game, thanks to 12 penalty minutes incurred last night by their captain.
- This will be the first time the Hurricanes will face former general manager Jim Rutherford, who up until six months ago was the only general manager ever known to this franchise. The fellow who replaced him, Ron Francis, won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins. Update: I purposefully didn't say a lot yesterday about JR, because the Canes were going to their building. But today JR returns to the building where he raised the sport of hockey from a shovel in the ground to a shiny silver chalice. I expect the return will be emotional for him. It will be interesting to see if there is an acknowledgement during the game (I hope there is). There's been a lot of talk about it in the press and here are a few interesting news links: [Post-Gazette] [Pittsburgh Tribune] [Penguins.com]
- The Canes traveled to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night after their shutout loss to the Florida Panthers, and practiced on Thursday. Elias Lindholm skated with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty, and Alexander Semin skated with Riley Nash and Nathan Gerbe. Update: With three goals, three assists, and what was called Sasha's best game of the season even though he was kept off the scoresheet, I'd call this a success. Fingers crossed that Riley Nash will be good to go after being clipped in the face by Sidney Crosby in the waning moments of the game.
- Jay Harrison was a healthy scratch on Wednesday, and head coach Bill Peters had indicated earlier in the week that he would be in the line-up against the Penguins. The Canes will dress seven defensemen, and Zach Boychuk and Brad Malone are the healthy extras at forward. Update: The Canes won't practice this morning so no news as to whether the 11 forwards/seven defensemen line-up will continue, or if either Zach Boychuk or Brad Malone will be back in the line-up.
- Peters also intends to split the goaltending duties between Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin over the weekend. Though not confirmed, Peters said he was leaning to starting Ward tonight, which would be his fifth consecutive start. Update: Dobby is confirmed to get the start tonight.
- The Penguins didn't practice on Thursday after their 4-3 home win in overtime against the Maple Leafs Wednesday night. Blake Comeau was the overtime hero with his second career hat trick, and Evgeni Malkin had a three point night (1g, 2a) and has points in his last six games. Update: Malkin's point streak was snapped last night. Also, streaking in a bad way is Chris Kunitz, who has gone 11 games without scoring a goal. In other words, book it.
- Winger Beau Bennett won't be in the line-up again after suffering a lower body injury in a game Monday. He'll be replaced by Jayson Megna, who was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. If Megna's name sounds familiar, last season he earned first star honors with a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win against the Canes in his second career game. Update: The Penguins won't skate prior to today's game either. They have recalled forward Andrew Ebbett, presumably to replace or as insurance for Marcel Goc, who left last night's game early after being hit in the foot with a puck. Robert Bortuzzo, a healthy scratch last night, could draw in on defense. Thomas Greiss is probable to start in net tonight.
- The Canes might want to show up ready to play from puck drop in this match. The Penguins are 12-3-2 this season when they score first. Update: The Canes are 5-2-1 when they score first. They are also 15-9-4 at home against the Penguins since moving to PNC Arena in 1999.
Hurricanes (from yesterday's game)
Injuries and Scratches: Jordan Staal (IR broken fibula), Brett Bellemore (IR lower body), Brad Malone (healthy), Zach Boychuk (healthy)
Injuries and Scratches: Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Beau Bennett (lower body), Robert Bortuzzo (healthy)
Good seats are still available. See you at the rink.