NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 27th
(All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (27-11-1) at Carolina Hurricanes (14-15-8), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to get back in the win
column on Friday when they emerge from the Christmas break to take on the
Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Pittsburgh was on its longest winning streak of the season before having its
seven-game tear halted on Monday with a 5-0 loss in Ottawa. Erik Karlsson
collected a goal and two assists to help the Senators rout the Penguins and
hand Pittsburgh its first setback since losing on Dec. 7 in Boston.
The Metropolitan Division leaders were shut out away from home for the first
time since a 1-0 decision at Toronto on Feb. 1, 2012.
Marc-Andre Fleury allowed all five goals on 29 shots for the Penguins, who
also lost forward Pascal Dupuis to a lower-body injury early in the first
period after he collided with teammate Sidney Crosby.
"Dupuis is going back to Pittsburgh to be re-evaluated," Penguins head coach
Dan Bylsma said. "We're hoping it's not a severe injury."
Pittsburgh has been decimated by injuries lately, although it's hard to tell
considering the Pens lost for just the second time in 14 games on Monday.
Dupuis joins key players like Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Paul Martin on
the shelf. Wingers Beau Bennett and Tanner Glass, and defensemen Rob Scuderi
and Brooks Orpik are also currently sidelined due to various injuries.
Malkin has sat out the last five games with a lower-body issue, and like
Dupuis, he is questionable for Friday's game. Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk
Engelland also is available for tonight's test after serving a five-game
suspension for an illegal check against Detroit's Justin Abdelkader.
Crosby, meanwhile, will try to rebound after having a 10-game point streak
halted in Monday's shutout loss. Pittsburgh's captain is leading the NHL with
54 points (20 goals, 34 assists) and he has seven goals and 25 helpers in 24
career games against Carolina.
After dropping the first test of a four-game road trip on Monday, the Pens
hope to get back on track by continuing their dominance of Carolina.
Pittsburgh is 2-0 against the 'Canes this season and has won four straight and
seven of the past eight encounters. The Pens also have won three of the last
four meetings in Raleigh.
Carolina will try to reverse the recent trend against the Pens, but the
Hurricanes have struggled lately, losing three straight and six of their past
seven trips to the ice.
The Hurricanes were dealt a 4-3 regulation loss Monday night by visiting
Columbus, as Ryan Johansen and Jack Skille scored 1:28 apart late in the third
period to lift the Blue Jackets to the comeback win. Johansen tied the
game with 4:02 left and Skille put the Blue Jackets in front at 17:26 of the
third with a rising shot from the right circle that beat Justin Peters.
Jeff Skinner scored twice in the loss, but he couldn't beat Blue Jackets
goaltender Mike McKenna from in close in the final 30 seconds of the game.
Skinner has 10 goals over his last 10 games, giving him a team-high 14 scores
in just 26 games this season.
"It's a tough way to lose," Skinner said. "We generated a lot of
opportunities, but just couldn't hold onto the lead."
Alexander Semin contributed a goal and an assist for Carolina. Peters, who
turned aside a season-high 47 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss at Tampa Bay
Saturday, made 21 saves on Monday.
Peters could get the start again over Cam Ward, who hasn't played since losing
to Washington on Dec. 20.
Carolina is just 7-8-4 as the host this season and has lost four of its last
five games in Raleigh.
12/27 10:45:46 ET