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Scouting the Enemy: Carolina Hurricanes

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Record:21-20-5

Leading scorers: Ray Whitney (14G, 24A), Eric Staal (19G, 15A)

Blogs: Canes Country

I can't say for sure what the habit is for the Carolina Hurricanes' coach Paul Maurice when it comes to handling goaltenders coming off shutout wins.  You know what I'm talking about.  Kinda like how Michel Therrien will start Fleury in back-to-back games if he was lights out in the first one.  I'm only saying this because Cam Ward shut down the Toronto Maple Leafs last night and I'm wondering if he'll get the nod against the Penguins again tonight.

Given the previous two meetings of the season between the Hurricanes and Penguins (4-1 Pens5-2 Pens) I'd hope the start goes to Michael Leighton.  I guess we'll hav to wait and see.  We might also have to factor in that the Canes are on a road trip at the moment and probably won't stick with the same goalie for back-to-back road games.

Regardless, the Pens dished Paul Maurice his first loss in a second stint as Hurricanes coach back on December 4.  I'd imagine he'll come into Mellon tonight looking to leave with a W, especially since the Canes were on a five game losing streak up until the shutout against the Leafs last night. 

Another factor leading into thinking Maurice may start Ward - this is the last game for both teams before an eight day break for the All-Star Game.  So starting Ward, on any other night, might seem like he's being overworked, but when you consider he'll have the next eight nights off it might not pose as such a bad idea.

With that said, let's hope the Pens can close out strong here heading into the all-star break.  Three straight sounds pretty good to me.