SB Nation Rival Blog: Pensburgh
Hurricanes Record: 32-32-11 | 75 pts | 7th Metro | 13th EC
Penguins Record: 48-22-5 | 101 pts | 1st Metro | 2nd EC
Games Remaining: 7
Estimated Points Needed: 92
Points Back: 17 (unpossible)
Playoff Chances (Sports Club Stats): 0.2%
Tragic Number: 8
Between ex-teammates, playoff history, and a division rivalry, one really doesn't have to manufacture drama when the Hurricanes play the Penguins. That said, this game in particular doesn't carry much significance in the standings, as the Penguins have a solid hold on first place in the Metro division, and the Hurricanes are all but officially eliminated from playoff contention. Welcome to April.
Tonight marks the last of four matchups between the two teams this season, and the Penguins are looking to sweep after having won the last three. They enter tonight's game coming off a big 4-1 win over Chicago on Sunday. The Hurricanes are playing their second game of a back-to-back on the road, losing 2-1 in overtime to Ottawa last night.
The Penguins depth of talent has allowed them to remain successful despite having the dubious honor of leading the league most nights this season in man games lost to injury. Currently out of the lineup are Evgeni Malkin (foot), Marcel Goc (foot), Kris Letang (stroke), Joe Vitale (mid-body injury), Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), and Chris Conner (hand). Paul Martin (broken hand) has begun practicing but is unlikely to be back in the lineup. Amazingly, Letang has already returned to the ice after suffering a stroke just a few weeks ago, and this morning it was announced that he is Pittsburgh's PWHA nominee for the Masterton trophy.
Of the healthy players remaining, Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Olli Maatta, Jayson Megna, and Jussi Jokinen are all point-per-game players when they face the Canes, and today is Jussi's birthday (31). He has three goals and six points against his former team this season (just sayin).
Tentative Penguins lineups from this morning's skate: [Offense] [Defense]. Confirmed is Marc-Andre Fleury in goal, his career record is 12-6-3 versus the Canes and he is 36-17-4 with five shutouts and a .917 save percentage this season.
With Jeff Skinner's unassisted goal being the lone tally in last night's game, he is now the only Hurricanes player with an active point streak, but it's a good streak, with goals in each of the last four games and points in the last five. Eric Staal averages over a point-per-game when he faces the Penguins.
The Hurricanes have been healthy of late, but lost Jiri Tlusty and Andrei Loktionov during last night's game after both sustained hits and were unable to return. The status of both players is unknown at this time. Radek Dvorak was a healthy scratch and should be able to draw into the lineup, and the Hurricanes have also recalled Chris Terry from the Checkers this morning, and he is on his way to Pittsburgh [news release].
With Cam Ward getting the workout in last night's game, Anton Khudobin is likely back in net tonight. Dobby has one career loss against the Penguins from his days with the Bruins but has not faced them as a member of the Hurricanes.
The Canes are not holding a morning skate, so any other news will be forthcoming around game time.
We'll have the game thread ready to roll by 6:30 pm. See you there.