Daily Primer March 7: Another tough test for Penguins

Friday, 03.07.2014 / 3:00 AM NHL.com

Facing one of the five best teams in the NHL was just a warm-up for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

One night after they saw a two-goal lead turn into a 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks, whose 87 points are fifth in the League standings, the Penguins head to Southern California for a game against the NHL's best team, the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks had the night off Thursday following a 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

Here's a look at all of the action Friday night:

New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes -- Newcomer Martin St. Louis had his first practice with the Rangers on Thursday, one day after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the morning and playing for his new team that night. Coach Alain Vigneault will stay with Henrik Lundqvist in goal, though Lundqvist has allowed 13 goals during an 0-2-1 slide that has endangered the Rangers' playoff position. Carolina is home after a 3-2 overtime victory against the Sharks enabled them to avoid going 0-5-0 on a cross-country road trip.

New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings -- The Devils have been off since beating the Red Wings 4-3 in Newark on Tuesday when Stephen Gionta scored the game-winner with 36.6 seconds left in regulation. Cory Schneider is expected to start in goal after Martin Brodeur got the win Tuesday. New Jersey got to take it easy Thursday while the Red Wings retired Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5 before losing 3-2 in overtime to the Colorado Avalanche. The single point kept Detroit in the final wild-card position in the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers -- The Sabres have been energized coming out of the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They improved to 4-1-0 by beating the Lightning 3-1 on Thursday, mostly due to the play of new No. 1 goalie Jhonas Enroth, who made 43 saves. The Panthers have a completely different goaltending duo than the one that dressed for a 4-1 road loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Florida reacquired Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks and landed Dan Ellis from the Dallas Stars. Luongo had his first practice with the Panthers on Thursday and is expected to play.

New York Islanders at Calgary Flames -- The Islanders continue their trip through Canada after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, a game in which they blew a two-goal lead in the third period. It's the 11th time this season New York has failed to win after leading by two goals. Islanders rookie Anders Lee has scored four times in five games since being recalled after the Olympic break. Before the game the Flames will raise the No. 25 of Hall of Fame center Joe Nieuwendyk to the rafters of Scotiabank Saddledome. Nieuwendyk was a key member of the 1989 team that won the franchise's only Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks -- The full house at Honda Center can expect Sidney Crosby to come out flying. The NHL scoring leader was held without a point by the Sharks and finished a career-worst minus-5. The Penguins have seen their lead over the Bruins in the race for first place in the Eastern Conference reduced to one point. Anaheim is 2-0-1 since the Olympic break, but the Ducks let a point get away Wednesday when they lost in a shootout to the Canadiens. With 92 points they are two in front of the St. Louis Blues in the race for the Presidents' Trophy and first place in the Western Conference.

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