Today marks the beginning of a back-to-back weekend of Canes action, and the home team hopes to unwrap some special net-front presents (namely goals, please score goals).
It all begins with the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, and since the Hurricanes didn’t skate this morning, we have some question marks regarding the lineup.
For now, it appears that Curtis McElhinney (7-3-1, 2.36 GAA) will get the go in net tonight, according to NHL.com. The Canes reassigned Scott Darling to the Checkers in advance of the holiday break, which indicated McElhinney’s good health (otherwise, NHL Veteran Jorge Alves is the backup). After a stretch of strong starts, McElhinney allowed five goals on 23 shots against the Sharks on Dec. 5 in his last outing.
The personnel should be the same tonight as it was Thursday against Detroit, though Rod Brind’Amour’s late-game switches make tonight’s lines a little iffy to pick out. Here’s how they lined up in the pregame warmup:
Micheal Ferland - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Andrei Svechnikov
Warren Foegele - Lucas Wallmark - Justin Williams
Brock McGinn - Victor Rask - Phil Di Giuseppe
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk
Trevor van Riemsdyk - Dougie Hamilton
The Penguins, unlike the Canes, are riding fairly high recently. They’re 4-1-0 in their last five games and have won back-to-back games against the Capitals and the Wild entering tonight’s action. Sadly, they’re also quite good at PNC Arena under head coach Mike Sullivan, with a 4-1-1 record.
Another unannounced goalie situation as far as we know, but let’s peg Matt Murray (6-5-1, 3.70 GAA) for now. Murray has had a rough 2018 stretch, but made a statement Wednesday by holding the Capitals to one goal on 32 shots.
Bryan Rust enters the game with a four-game goal streak (five goals total over the stretch). No morning skate for the Penguins, either, so here’s what to expect based on their game vs. the Capitals:
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Dominik Simon - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Tanner Pearson - Derick Brassard - Patric Hornqvist
Riley Sheahan - Matt Cullen - Zach Aston-Reese
Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Olli Maatta - Juuso Riikola
Marcus Pettersson - Jack Johnson