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Gameday: Hurricanes at Penguins

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
PITTSBURGH – Keep Pounding.


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

With the matinee 3 p.m. faceoff today, the Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate, but check back here for updates as the day progresses.

Last updated: 10:00 a.m.



LACK TO START, PESCE DOUBTFUL
10:00 a.m.

Eddie Lack will play in his 100th career NHL game today, as he gets the start in net for the Carolina Hurricanes. Lack made 23 saves on 24 shots in the Canes' 4-1 win in St. Louis on Thursday, and he's 5-1-2 in his last eight starts.

Defenseman Brett Pesce, who was held out of the lineup Friday night with a lower-body injury, is doubtful for today's contest. The Hurricanes will likely ice the same lineup as they did against Vancouver.

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Rask-Nash
Malone-McClement-Gerbe

Liles-Faulk
Hanifin-Hainsey
Jordan-Slavin

Lack
Ward

Here are some snippets of my chat with the head coach.

On what he expects from today's match: "We seem to be in a lot of one-goal games no matter the opponent. I anticipate it being a very good hockey game with a lot of pace to the game. We've got to make sure we start on time and when we have our chances we have to make sure we're bearing down in the offensive zone."

On the three-day schedule reprieve after today's game: "We've definitely got to empty the tank today and find a way to get points. Then we'll take a day off and have two real good practice days prior to the Toronto game. I'm looking forward to getting our team on the ice to be able to practice with some tempo."

On what the addition of Hagelin means for the Penguins: "That's a hockey trade there. We'll see. We're familiar with Carl Hagelin as a New York Ranger, so we'll watch him here tonight and see how they use him. He's a good penalty killer and he has some quickness."

On the standings and Pittsburgh having games in hand: "We don't even talk about the standings. They're too dynamic, and it's too far out. We know we have to get points and go on extended runs. We have to play well in 10-game segments. We know all of that. We don't beat it up everyday. You start watching the out-of-town scoreboard, and it will drive you crazy. It just changes. This is a huge game within the division, and we've got to get a point or two here tonight."



POINT STREAK ON THE LINE IN PITTSBURGH
4:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes put their season-long five-game point streak on the line when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time this season.

HURRICANES at PENGUINS
Hurricanes at Penguins
PNC ARENA | 3 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 620 AM
ARTICLES
RECAP: CANES EXTEND POINT STREAK TO 5 GAMES
CANES ACTIVATE GERBE FROM IR
VIDEOS
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: VAN 3, CAR 2 (OT)
FORSLUND FOCUS: EDDIE LACK
CATEGORY 5: JEFF SKINNER
GAMEDAY LINKS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
This afternoon’s tilt marks the third of five meetings this season between the Canes and Penguins. Carolina has twice edged its Metropolitan Division rival by a goal; the Canes topped Pittsburgh 2-1 on Dec. 19 and claimed a 3-2 decision in overtime just five days ago.

In that Jan. 12 contest in Raleigh, the Hurricanes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second period, only to see the Penguins tie the game at the 6:02 mark of the third period. Jeff Skinner registered the game-winning tally on a 4-on-3 man advantage in overtime.

“It was a well-played game," head coach Bill Peters said after the game. “There weren’t a lot of shots either way. There was no room. People were desperate.”

It’s likely going to be a similar story today.

“Giving them no room is the best way to play against those guys,” Jordan Staal said after Friday’s overtime loss to Vancouver. “That’s what we’re going to try to do and capitalize on chances when we get them.”

“We know they’re going to be ready for us,” Kris Versteeg said. “We’ve played them tough now a couple of times, so we expect nothing but their best game on Sunday, and we’re excited about the challenge.”

The Hurricanes’ win streak was halted at four games on Friday, but the team has earned points in five straight. With 48 points (20-18-8), the Canes sit just two points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, with three games in hand, the Penguins trail the Hurricanes by a point in the standings with 47 (20-16-7). Pittsburgh has played once since Tuesday’s meeting with the Hurricanes, falling 5-4 to Tampa Bay in overtime.

Defenseman Brett Pesce did not play against Vancouver on Friday night with a lower-body concern that cropped up against Pittsburgh. He’s with the team on this road trip, but his status for today’s match remains uncertain.

“Day-to-day. He gutted it out on the road in St. Louis,” Peters said. “That might be a while, or it might be something that clears up quick. I know the All-Star break is going to be good for him.”

CANESPR NOTES: A couple of imminent games played milestones: Eddie Lack is a game shy of 100 NHL games, and Brad Malone is a game shy of 100 Hurricanes games. … The last time the Hurricanes had points in five or more consecutive games was Nov. 1-10, 2014 (5-0-1, 11 points). … The Canes played a penalty-free game against Vancouver Friday, marking the second such occurrence this season.



Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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