|Division Rank||7th Metro||6th Metro|
|Conference Rank||14th EC||12th EC|
|Last 10 Games||4-5-1||2-5-3|
|Streak||Lost 1||Lost 3|
|ES Goals For %||42.6%||47.8%|
|ES Corsi For %||53.4%||49.6%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||17.1%||14.2%|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||76.9%||83.2%|
|ES Save %||.901||.919|
|ES Save %||.882||-|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- The Pittsburgh Penguins are a team in turmoil, desperate to stay relevant in the standings. Over the last couple of weeks, they have fired a relatively new head coach (Mike Johnston was hired at the same time as Bill Peters), acquired a defenseman via trade, made several roster moves, and are dealing with significant injuries. So far, new head coach Mike Sullivan is 0-3-0, and they just dropped two games this week against the Bruins (most recently a 6-2 home loss last night) so they should come into tonight's game against the Canes like a house afire.
- The Penguins offense has been underperforming, at 2.23 their goals/game ranks 28th in the NHL. Only Evgeni Malkin (14g, 13a) has performed better than Canes leader Justin Faulk (12g,14a), and Victor Rask (9g, 13a) has more points than both Sidney Crosby (6g, 15a) and Phil Kessel (9g, 9a). Defensively they have performed better, but that's been mainly due to very good goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury, who is currently out of the lineup after suffering a concussion. Their best defenseman, Kris Letang, is on injured reserve and day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
- If I can keep up with all the Penguins transactions (they've made more this morning)... 12/14 acquired Trevor Daley from the Blackhawks (in exchange for Rob Scuderi), 12/15 recalled forwards Conor Sheary and Kevin Porter from the AHL (Sheary scored his first NHL goal last night), 12/15 recalled goaltender Matt Murray (who is likely to make his NHL debut in net tonight), 12/19 recalled forward Scott Wilson, 12/19 assigned 2015 draft pick Daniel Sprong to the QMJHL (burning the first year of his entry-level contract).
- After finally finding a scoring touch over the last couple of weeks, the Canes offense was shut down last night by the Panthers, which has been the norm against that team recently. They've been more successful against the Penguins, 2-2-0 last season. Eric Staal (44 points in 42 games), Elias Lindholm (7 points in 7 games), and Victor Rask (4 points in 4 games) all have point-per-game or better career scoring against the Penguins.
- Bill Peters has stated he intends to start both goaltenders in the weekend back-to-back games, but he has also said he wants one of his goaltenders to get on a roll. Cam Ward was not taxed last night with 17 shots against and a .941 save percentage, so it's at best a toss-up as to whether Eddie Lack will get the start or if Peters will go back to Ward.
- Neither team will practice today so any lineup changes will not be reported until closer to game time. UPDATE 12:15 pm: As soon as I posted this, Michelle McMahon tweeted that the Canes lineup will remain the same as last night, including Wardo back in net.
- Tonight's game is the first of five this season between the Metro division rivals.
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Chris Terry
Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Nathan Gerbe (ankle), Riley Nash (healthy)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Conor Sheary
David Perron - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Sergei Plotnikov - Nick Bonino - Patric Hornqvist
Kevin Porter - Matt Cullen - Eric Fehr
Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley
Ian Cole - David Warsofsky
Brian Dumoulin - Ben Lovejoy
Injuries and scratches: Beau Bennett (IR upper body), Kris Letang (IR undisclosed), Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion),
Daniel Sprong (healthy), Adam Clendening (healthy)