Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (21-14-6, 48 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division) @ Carolina Hurricanes (26-9-7, 59 points, 1st place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh in the Western PA viewing market, Bally Sports South for Caniacs, NHL Network outside of the local market
Opponent Track: The Hurricanes ran out of steam after an 11-game win streak and recently struggled through four losses in a row, although they’ve racked up more than enough points to remain comfortably on top of the Metropolitan Division. They snapped out of the slump on Thursday by racking up six goals against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
Pens Path Ahead: Buckle up and strap in for a lot of hockey over the next two weeks, because after the back-to-back set this weekend the Penguins are playing every other day until the All-Star Break.
Season Series: It’s been a painful season series so far against the Hurricanes, in which the Penguins gained two points and three heartbreaks. On November 29, a tying goal from Jake Guentzel with less than one minute left in regulation was not enough to stop the Hurricanes from taking back the lead in OT. On December 18, the Hurricanes erased the Penguins’ third-period 2-1 lead in time to win 3-2 in regulation. Four days later, the Penguins blew another third-period lead and lost 23 seconds into overtime.
Getting to know the Hurricanes
SB Nation counterpart: Canes Country
Max Pacioretty (?) - Sebastian Aho - Seth Jarvis
Andrei Svechnikov - Paul Stastny - Marin Necas
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Teuvo Teravainen - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Stefan Noesen
Jaccob Slavin / Brent Burns
Brady Skjei / Brett Pesce
Calvin De Haan / Jalen Chatfield
Goalies: Frederick Andersen, Pyotr Kochetkov
Scratches: Derek Stepan, Dylan Coghlan, Antti Raanta
IR: Ondrej Kase, Jake Gardiner
- After missing 29 games with a lower-body injury, Frederick Andersen returned to man the Hurricanes’ net on Thursday. (That’s perfect timing for the Canes, as backup Pyotr Kochetkov— although a noted Penguins-killer— has struggled as of late, allowing four goals in each of his last three starts.) Andersen made 21 saves on 23 shots during the 6-2 win against the Blue Jackets.
- Just one week after being activated from IR after recovering from surgery on a torn Achilles tendon, Matt Pacioretty left Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury (unrelated to the Achilles, according to Hurricanes PR.) It is unclear if he will be playing tonight.
- The Penguins have one defenseman with more than 15 points so far this season (Kris Letang.) The Hurricanes have three over that cutoff (Brent Burns with 29, Brady Skjei with 19 and Brett Pesce with 17.) That makes them one of the most highest-scoring blue lines in the NHL. Defenseman scored five goals for the Hurricanes on Thursday, including a shorthanded tally from Jalen Chatfield.
And now for the Pens...
Potential Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Danton Heinen - Teddy Blueger - Brock McGinn
Brian Dumoulin / Mark Friedman
Ty Smith / Chad Ruhwedel
P.O. Joseph / Jan Rutta
Goalies: Casey DeSmith (Dustin Tokarski started against the Jets last night)
Scratches: Taylor Fedun, Marcus Pettersson (illness)
Non-Roster: Kris Letang (family leave)
IR: Jeff Petry (upper body, LTIR), Josh Archibald, Tristan Jarry, Ryan Poehling
- The Penguins flew to North Carolina after last night’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets. We’ll get information on Marcus Pettersson (who missed Friday’s contest with illness) at some point today.
- Jeff Petry, Ryan Poehling and Jeff Petry ahne all been skating before practice.
Tristan Jarry is taking some shots from goalie coach Andy Chiodo. pic.twitter.com/Fv4d374Ya4— Shelly Anderson (@_ShellyAnderson) January 13, 2023
- Mike Sullivan stuck the decimated defense pairs in a blender last night with the absence of Pettersson, leading to the introduction of first-pairing Mark Friedman. The mystery of what we will see on the blue line tonight is just one of the many delights of watching Penguins hockey.
- After Tokarski started last night, Casey DeSmith will start for the first time since he was pulled after letting in three goals in seven minutes against the visiting Canucks earlier this week. Head coach Mike Sullivan compared DeSmith’s play to the team’s performance as a whole— inconsistent. Via Sports Illustrated’s Nick Hornwat:
“Probably similar to what our team has been, volatility. He’s had moments where he’s been really strong and giving us a chance to win. Others, where you’d like him to bring a little bit more consistency.” —Mike Sullivan on Casey DeSmith