Preview: Penguins at Hurricanes
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[December 27, 2013]
The Pittsburgh Penguins come out of
the holiday break Friday looking to start a new winning streak against
an opponent they’ve enjoyed facing this season. The Penguins visit the
Carolina Hurricanes, a team they have already defeated twice by a
combined score of 8-2. Pittsburgh saw its season-high seven-game winning
streak come to an end with a 5-0 setback to Ottawa on Monday, but holds
a comfortable 13-point lead in the Metropolitan Division.
The Hurricanes are 1-3-3 in their last seven contests as they
slide further out of playoff contention. Carolina has struggled at
home by going 7-8-4 and dropping four of their last five, while the
Penguins are 5-2-1 in their last eight road games. Pittsburgh
goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start on Friday after
allowing a season-high five goals in his last start before the
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ROOT, Fox Sports Carolinas
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (27-11-1): Evgeni Malkin has missed the last five
games due to a lower-body injury and will skate Friday to evaluate
his condition. Tanner Glass (hand) and defenseman Brooks Orpik
(concussion) are both expected to return to the lineup, but Pascal
Dupuis could miss time after appearing to suffer a knee injury in
Monday’s game. Defenseman Deryk Engelland will be eligible to return
to the lineup after serving a five-game suspension for a hit to the
head of Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader.
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ABOUT THE HURRICANES (14-15-8): Goaltender Justin Peters has
started four of the last five contests as starting goaltender Cam
Ward has struggled mightily since returning from a lower-body injury
in November, allowing at least three goals in eight of nine starts.
Jeff Skinner has scored 10 of his 14 goals in December and has five
in his last six games. Alexander Semin, who is in the first season
of a five-year, $35-million deal, has three points in five games
since returning from a concussion.
Pittsburgh is 12-4-0 against divisional opponents.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has 32 points — but just seven
goals — in 24 career contests against Carolina.
Pittsburgh has won seven of its last eight meetings with the
PREDICTION: Penguins 4, Hurricanes 1
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