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Hurricanes could be without two top forwards

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- The Carolina Hurricanes could be without two-thirds of their top line when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Forwards Andrei Loktionov and Jiri Tlusty each left Carolina's game against the Ottawa Senators on Monday with injuries. The Hurricanes recalled forward Chris Terry from the Charlotte Checkers, their American Hockey League affiliate, on an emergency basis Tuesday.

Carolina cancelled its morning skate Tuesday, so the look of their lineup, including the status of the injured players, won't be known until closer to game time.

Pittsburgh forward Jussi Jokinen, who spent parts of five seasons with Carolina, said he still has relationships with Hurricanes players and doesn't enjoy seeing his former team struggle.

"I follow them and I think this is the fifth year they've missed the playoffs in a row," Jokinen said. "It's tough on their organization. There's big expectations. Obviously they made it to the conference finals in '09 and after that it's been tough.

"There are a lot of good players there but I don't think there's one reason. I think there's many reasons they haven't been able to get back to the playoffs."

Penguins defenseman Paul Martin (broken hand) and forward Joe Vitale (upper body) participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate but will not play Tuesday. Martin on Monday called returning against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday "a long shot," but said he would like to play this weekend; the Penguins play Saturday at the Minnesota Wild and Sunday at the Colorado Avalanche.

The Penguins' forward lines and defense pairings remained the same from their 4-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Forward Sidney Crosby is one point away from his first 100-point season since 2009-10 after he scored two goals against Chicago.

Pittsburgh has played a string of games against teams in contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Crosby said they will not prepare for the Hurricanes, who are in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points, any differently.

"I think for us, we want to build off the last two games we've had," Crosby said. "I think no matter who we're playing at this point we want to make sure we continue to play the way we have the last couple of games."

Here are the expected lineups for the Hurricanes and Penguins:


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Lee Stempniak

Beau Bennett - Jussi Jokinen - James Neal

Taylor Pyatt - Brandon Sutter - Brian Gibbons

Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Jayson Megna

Brooks Orpik - Robert Bortuzzo

Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen

Deryk Engelland - Rob Scuderi

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Simon Despres

Injured: Evgeni Malkin (foot), Kris Letang (stroke), Marcel Goc (foot), Paul Martin (broken hand), Joe Vitale (upper body), Chris Conner (broken foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)


Eric Staal - Andrei Loktionov - Jiri Tlusty

Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Alexander Semin

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Elias Lindholm

Drayson Bowman - Manny Malhotra - Patrick Dwyer

Justin Faulk - Andrej Sekera

Ron Hainsey - John-Michael Liles

Jay Harrison - Brett Bellemore

Anton Khudobin

Cam Ward

Scratched: Radek Dvorak, Chris Terry, Mike Komisarek

Injured: Joni Pitkanen (broken heel)

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