Who: Carolina Hurricanes (11-6-5, 27 points, 3rd place Metropolitan Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (11-8-3, 25 points, 4th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sports Network Pittsburgh (ATTSN-PT) for the home team, Bally Sports South (BSSO) for the visitors, Sling TV
Opponent Track: After a strong start to the season, the Hurricanes recently dropped five games in a row. Thanks to a 0-1-4 record, the Canes were still picking up points, but those were four frustrating overtime losses. Carolina finally broke the streak on Saturday, when two power-play goals helped power the team to a 3-2 triumph over the visiting Flames.
Pens Path Ahead: The Penguins are playing at PPG Paints Arena every other day for the rest of the week. The Golden Knights come to town on Thursday, and the Blues are visiting on Saturday.
Season Series: This is the first Carolina/Pittsburgh matchup of the season, but Penguins fans will see the Canes twice in four days in December (on the 18th and 22nd) before the season series concludes in January. Those will be eight fairly consequential points in the race up the Metropolitan Division standings.
Getting to know the Hurricanes
SB Nation counterpart: Canes Country
Seth Jarvis - Sebastian Aho - Martin Necas
Andrei Svechnikov - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Stefan Noesen
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Jack Drury - Paul Stastny - Derek Stepan
Jaccob Slavin / Brent Burns
Brady Skjei / Brett Pesce
Calvin De Haan / Jalen Chatfield
Goalies: Pyotr Kochetkov, Antti Raanta
Scratches: Dylan Coghlan
IR: Tuevo Teravainen, Ondrej Kase, Max Pacioretty, Jake Gardiner, Cavan Fitzgerald, Frederik Andersen
- For the third game in a row, the Penguins are facing a team with a packed injured reserve (part of the reason the Flyers were left toothless on Friday, although it didn’t seem to slow down the Maple Leafs on Saturday.) These injuries are painful on both sides of the ice for the Hurricanes: Teravainen and Pacioretty can be twenty-goal scorers, and starting goaltender Frederik Andersen has been missing since November 8.
- Since Andersen’s injury, the Hurricanes have leant on 23-year-old Pyotr Kochetkov (who had started two NHL games before this season). Kochetkov is taking full advantage of the opportunity. In six starts, he has a .913 save percentage and one shutout— good thing, seeing as the Hurricanes signed him to a four-year contract last week.
Pyotr Kochetkov making his case for save of the year! pic.twitter.com/RUwoKtGYjY— NHL (@NHL) November 24, 2022
- The Canes are missing a few consistent scorers, but they are being helped by a career year from Martin Necas. After scoring around 15 goals per season for the last three years, Necas has taken full advantage of his opportunity to play on Carolina’s first line, putting up 10 goals through the first 22 games of the season.
- 37-year-old Brent Burns remains a force to be reckoned with. He leads the Hurricanes— the entire team, not just his fellow defenders— in shots on goal, and ranks second on the team with 11 assists.
- During the Canes’ recent winless streak (0-1-4), the team only scored three even-strength goals. Even in Saturday’s 3-2 redemption win over the Flames, the team only scored one. With their power-play also struggling (they’re right there with the Penguins with a success rate of just under 17%), the Canes are currently one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL. Their solid defense (they allow an NHL-low 25.9 shots against per game) allows them to stay competitive anyways.
And now for the Pens...
Potential Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Ryan Poehling - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald
Marcus Pettersson / Kris Letang
P.O. Joseph / Jeff Petry
Brian Dumoulin / Jan Rutta
Goalies: Tristan Jarry (Casey DeSmith)
Scratches: Danton Heinen, Chad Ruhwedel
IR: None. Can you believe it?
The Penguins' 6 consecutive healthy games is (perhaps to no surprise) the longest such streak they've had going back to 2000/01 - only matched by a 6-gamer across two series during the 2012/13 playoffs— NHLInjuryViz (@NHLInjuryViz) November 27, 2022
- Kapanen skated on the Penguins’ third line during Monday’s practice after being a healthy scratch in nine of the Penguins’ last ten games.
Mike Sullivan on how Kasperi Kapanen has handled being a healthy scratch for as long as he has: “His attitude has been spectacular day in and day out, which is a credit to him.”— Taylor Haase (@TaylorHaasePGH) November 28, 2022
- During Monday’s practice, Kapanen took the place of Heinen, who has three assists in his last 17 games and has been very quiet on the Penguins’ underwhelming third line. We’ve seen before that Heinen can fit in for brief periods higher in the Penguins’ lineup— he scored twice against the Blue Jackets in October when being fed pucks by Sidney Crosby— but he has all but disappeared on Jeff Carter’s line. It doesn’t help that in three of his last five games, he failed to register a shot on goal.
- The Penguins’ penalty kill has tightened up— if only the same could be said for their power play. During Monday’s practice, Jeff Petry returned to the second unit, while Rust rejoined PP1 in an effort to shake up what is rapidly becoming one of the worst power plays the NHL (at a 16.7% success rate, only Montreal, Columbus, Anaheim and Philadelphia have been less effective on the man advantage.)