PITTSBURGH - With just four weeks remaining in the 2019-20 regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins begin their four-game season series with a Sunday matinee.
The Canes and Pens will face off four times in a 21-day stretch - twice this week and then twice again a five-day span in late March.
The Hurricanes trail the Penguins by seven points in the standings with a game in hand. With four head-to-head match-ups on tap in the next few weeks, it's possible the Canes could catch the Pens.
Like Saturday's tilt on Long Island, these are all critical swing games that should boast a playoff atmosphere.
"Other than a few teams, everybody is grinding for playoffs. Everybody is doing it. I don't see any game being any different," Justin Williams said. "Certainly for us, we let up a little bit, and we'll be left behind."
In his fifth game with the Hurricanes, Vincent Trocheck netted his first goal with his new team, the overtime winner on Saturday afternoon on Long Island.
Video: CAR@NYI: Trocheck cleans up rebound for OT winner
"It was feeling like I wasn't getting any bounces these first few games," he said after the game. "To finally get one and for it to be an OT winner, that's definitely something I'll remember."
A native of Pittsburgh, Trocheck has totaled 283 points (112g, 171a) through 425 NHL games, the fourth-most goals, assists and points by a Pennsylvania-born player in NHL history.
Trocheck has tallied nine points (3g, 6a) in 16 career games against the Penguins.
600 for Nino
Nino Niederreiter is set to play in his 600th career NHL game, and he will become to fourth Swiss-born player to do so, joining Mark Hardy, Mark Streit and Roman Josi.
Niederreiter has registered 27 points (10g, 17a) in 65 games this season and will be looking to find the scoresheet for the first time since Feb. 22.
Like the Canes, the Penguins were also in action on Saturday afternoon, as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Washington Capitals at home. Prior to that, the Penguins had dropped six straight games at the end of February before bouncing back to win two straight to begin March. At 39-22-6 with 84 points, Pittsburgh sits in third in the Metropolitan Division. Evgeni Malkin leads the team in scoring with 70 points (22g, 48a) in 53 games.
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