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Hurricanes at Penguins preview

Carolina looks to climb in Eastern wild card; Pittsburgh can gain in Metropolitan

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

HURRICANES (36-25-5) at PENGUINS (39-22-6)



The Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to move within three points of first place in the Metropolitan Division with a win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.

Pittsburgh, third in the division, lost 5-2 to the Washington Capitals on Saturday and is five points behind Washington and the Philadelphia Flyers after losing seven of its past nine games in regulation.

The Hurricanes are two points behind the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets for the two wild cards into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They ended an 0-3-1 skid with a 3-2 overtime win against the Islanders on Saturday.


Players to watch

Hurricanes forward Justin Williams has scored in each of his past three games following a 13-game goal drought.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby has one goal in each of his past three games. He has six points (three goals, three assists) during that span.


They said it

"Can we do things a lot better? Yes. Could we play a little bit better with a lead? Yes." -- Hurricanes forward Justin Williams

"We understand we need to play better. … We need to step up. It doesn't matter who's in the lineup." -- Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin


Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei Svechnikov -- Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen

Warren Foegele -- Vincent Trocheck -- Martin Necas

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Justin Williams

Ryan Dzingel -- Jordan Martinook -- Nino Niederreiter

Joel Edmundson -- Jaccob Slavin

Jake Gardiner -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Haydn Fleury -- Brady Skjei

Alex Nedeljkovic

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: None

Injured: Dougie Hamilton (leg), Brett Pesce (shoulder), Sami Vatanen (lower body), Petr Mrazek (concussion protocol), James Reimer (lower body)


Penguins projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Sidney Crosby -- Conor Sheary

Patrick Marleau -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Jared McCann -- Nick Bjugstad -- Patric Hornqvist

Brandon Tanev -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- John Marino

Jack Johnson -- Justin Schultz

Tristan Jarry

Matt Murray

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel, Juuso Riikola, Evan Rodrigues

Injured: Jake Guentzel (shoulder surgery), Zach Aston-Reese (lower body), Dominik Simon (upper body), Anthony Angello (upper body) 

Status report

Nedeljkovic could make his sixth NHL appearance (fourth start) after Forsberg made 24 saves Saturday. He is 0-2-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and .866 save percentage this season. … Jarry will start for the Penguins after Murray made 23 saves against the Capitals on Saturday. Murray has started the past three games.


Stat pack

The Hurricanes will play the first of four games against the Penguins this season. They are 4-8-0 in the previous 12 meetings. … Malkin has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past three games. … Marleau needs one goal to pass Mike Modano (561) for 25th in NHL history. 

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