Who: Carolina Hurricanes (20-6-6, 46 points, 1st place Metropolitan Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (19-9-4, 42 points, 3rd place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sports Network Pittsburgh (ATTSN-PT) for the Western PA market, Bally Sports South for the visitors, Sling TV, ESPN+
Opponent Track: It’s all Hurricanes right now, they just wrapped up a four-game homestand against four teams with a combined 73-33-14 record (SEA, DAL, PIT, NJD) and Carolina won all four games in an impressive manner. The last game out (a 4-1 win over New Jersey) pushed the Canes up to first place over the Devils.
Pens Path Ahead: It’s time for a Christmas break after this, the Pens are inactive until heading over to Long Island next Tuesday, December 27. From there, Pittsburgh stays busy with two home games on Wednesday 12/28 (Detroit) and Friday 12/30 (NJD) before getting to the Winter Classic in Boston on Monday, January 2nd.
Season Series: Pittsburgh is 0-1-1 against the Hurricanes this season, losing in OT in November at home and then getting tripped up 3-2 this past Sunday in Carolina. These two will meet for a fourth and final time in the regular season in the near future, on Saturday January 14th, back in Carolina.
Hidden stat: The Penguins have only scored four total goals in two games against Carolina this season (2.0 goals/game for those who are astute at math). In Pittsburgh’s other 30 games against non-Carolina opponents, they’ve scored 107 total goals (3.57 per game).
Getting to know the Hurricanes
SB Nation counterpart: Canes Country
Andrei Svechnikov - Paul Stastny - Martin Necas
Teuvo Teravainen - Jesper Kotkaniemi - Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Derek Stepan - Jack Drury - Stefan Noesen
Jaccob Slavin / Brent Burns
Brady Skjei / Brett Pesce
Calvin de Haan / Jalen Chatfield
Goalies: Pyotr Kochetkov (Antti Raanta)
Scratches: Sebastien Aho (injury), Dylan Coghlan
IR: Frederik Andersen, Ondrej Kase, Max Pacioretty, Jake Gardiner
—Carolina’s lineup was the same against New Jersey as it was in the previous win against Pittsburgh, but it might be strengthened in a significant manner. Sebastien Aho was a participant in practice, and the door could be open for him playing again as soon as tonight. There hasn’t been word either way as of press time on that decision, but sooner than later the Hurricanes should have their best forward back in the lineup. Not bad for a team having won their last six.
—Carolina has had some great availability going on the opening half of this season. 11 skaters have played all 32 games so far. 14 have played at least 30/32. Other than an injury on opening night to the guy that always gets hurt (Ondrej Kase) and Frederik Andersen’s perhaps fortuitous-to-the-team injury that opened the door for Kochetkov to make his mark, it’s been a pretty healthy team so far. Even have Aho out the last six games hasn’t slowed them down on the ice, everything has been very charmed for Carolina with how the first part of the year has unfolded.
It will be the matchup of two of the best goalies in the league tonight if the Pens and Canes opt to use their starters. Here’s a look at the NHL’s best goalies since Thanksgiving. Tristan Jarry and Pyotr Kochetkov have nearly identical stat lines. Jarry’s only loss (in OT, no less) during this stretch, also came at the hands of Kochetkov, who stopped 30/32 shots when they met on November 29th.
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
Danton Heinen - Teddy Blueger - Drew O’Connor
Marcus Pettersson / Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin / Jan Rutta
P.O. Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Tristan Jarry (Casey DeSmith)
Scratches: Josh Archibald (injury), Mark Friedman, Ryan Poehling (injury)
IR: Jeff Petry (upper body, LTIR, out until at least January 8th)
—Neither Archibald nor Poehling were able to practice yesterday, which means it might finally be time for the team to have space to give O’Connor another look. O’Connor has three scoreless NHL games under his belt this season, all of them coming from Nov 1-5.
Jarry gunning for history
Any time a goalie can put his name in Penguins’ franchise history right there with Tom Barrasso and Marc-Andre Fleury, that’s an impressive feat. Jarry is getting there with his consecutive games with at least a point streak up to 13 games.
Tristan Jarry extended his career-long point streak to 13-consecutive games with tonight's win (11-0-2).— Penguins PR (@PenguinsPR) December 21, 2022
There have only been three longer point streaks by a goaltender in @penguins history:
Tom Barrasso - 15 GP in 1992-93
Marc-Andre Fleury - 14 GP in 2006-07 & 2010-11 pic.twitter.com/NqJUGVhcVB