The Pittsburgh Penguins (11-6-0, 22 points) take on the Florida Panthers (5-7-4, 14 points) for the first of three season meetings Friday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins have won seven of their last ten games and are 3-1 against Southeast Division teams this season. Florida has points in eight of its last ten games (4-2-4) but is still near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, ahead of just the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres.
Their four regulation/overtime wins (ROW) are the fewest in the East.
Power play goals continue to be the story in Pittsburgh. The Pens have at least one man-advantage tally in each of their last nine games and have failed to register on the power play in only four games this season. Their second-ranked unit (27.5 percent) matches up favorably against the Florida penalty kill, which ranks 27th in the league at 74.6 percent success.
James Neal and Evgeni Malkin are keying the power play. Together, they have collected 11 of their 16 goals and 24 of their 36 total points on the man advantage.
If the Penguins can cash in on the power play once again, they should have a good chance to take two points from the league's worst defense in terms of goals against (3.6 goals per game).
Marc-Andre Fleury is set to start for the Pens, perhaps against rookie Panthers netminder Jacob Markstrom.
As comfortable as the Penguins' record still is, the team desperately needs to find a groove at home, where they are 3-4-0.