|Division Rank||5th Metro||6th Metro|
|Conference Rank||11th EC||12th EC|
|Last 10 Games||5-2-3||4-2-4|
|Streak||OT 1||OT 2|
|ES Goals For %||46.5%||48.0%|
|ES Corsi For %||53.4%||50.8%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||17.9% (20)||18.9% (13)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||80.9% (14)||83.9% (6)|
|ES Save %||.911||.927|
|ES Save %||.902||.925|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- Teams from Carolina and Pittsburgh are playing meaningful games in January. After earning a first round bye in the NFC East, the Carolina Panthers will begin their postseason push to the Super Bowl when they host the Seattle Seahawks today at 1:00 pm. Meanwhile, after winning their wildcard game, the Pittsburgh Steelers will visit the Denver Broncos at 4:30 pm. In between, hockey will be played between the Hurricanes and the Penguins.
- The Metro division rivals are only a point apart in the standings, and the Penguins will be looking to avenge a 3-2 overtime loss to the Canes Tuesday. It was no coincidence that Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was working the phones at 3:00 am yesterday, finalizing a trade that would bring speedy winger Carl Hagelin to town in time for today's game. Hagelin has more assists (10) and points (15) against the Canes than he has against any other team, including three points (1g, 2a) this season when he was in town with the Ducks on Nov. 16. Hagelin is expected to start in the spot vacated by David Perron (sent along with Adam Clendening to Anaheim) on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel and will likely see time on special teams as well. (editorial note, Hagelin scored the Game 5 overtime winner in the Rangers vs. Penguins series that eliminated the Penguins from the playoffs last season; doesn't sound like a JR move at all, does it?).
- The Penguins have only played once since Tuesday, losing to the Lightning in overtime Friday. Kris Letang appeared to be in pain after a hit from Ryan Callahan and was absent from yesterday's practice; he will be a game-time decision. Nick Bonino is on injured reserve from an injury sustained blocking a Justin Faulk slap shot Tuesday. Malkin leads the Pens in goals (19) and points (41) and has 11 points in his last eight games. Sidney Crosby has 15 points in his last 12 games, and Patrik Hornqvist has nine points (4g, 5a) in his last seven games. Trevor Daley will be playing in his 800th career NHL game today.
- Friday's overtime loss to the Canucks broke a four-game win streak for the Canes, but they picked up a point and that kept them in the cluster of teams vying for Eastern Conference wild card spots. They are currently ranked 11th in the Eastern Conference, just two points back of both the Lightning and Canadiens. That view might be a wee bit optimistic, as the Canes have played more games than several other teams (three more than the Penguins, four more than the Flyers), and their points acquired percentage (.5217) puts them at the bottom of the bubble, in the 13th spot. After today's game, the Canes get a few days break and other teams will catch up, and by the All-Star break the games played should start to even out with a full month remaining before the trade deadline.
- The Canes didn't practice yesterday and won't practice today before the game. The Red, White, and Blueline ended its 20-game run (and 12-5-3 record) when Brett Pesce was held out of Friday's game with a lower body injury. He's listed as doubtful for today. Congratulations to today's starting netminder, Eddie Lack, who is playing in his 100th career NHL game.
- The Canes have scored a power play goal in five straight games (29.4%) and are 12-of-13 (92.5%) on the penalty kill for the same time period. Kris Versteeg has six points (3g, 3a) in his last five games played. Andrej Nestrasil, Victor Rask, and Jaccob Slavin have points in their last two games.
- As a reminder, today's game has an early 3:00 pm start, so don't forget to set up your picture-in-picture at halftime.
- #KeepPounding :)
Hurricanes (1/16 media availability)
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Riley Nash
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Nathan Gerbe
John-Michael Liles - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Ron Hainsey
Michal Jordan - Jaccob Slavin
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Brett Pesce (lower body), Chris Terry (healthy)
Penguins (1/11 practice)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Conor Sheary - Eric Fehr - Tom Kuhnhackl
Kevin Porter - Matt Cullen - Bryan Rust
Olli Maatta - Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin - Ben Lovejoy
Ian Cole - Trevor Daley
Injuries and Scratches: Beau Bennett (IR upper body), Nick Bonino (IR hand)