HURRICANES (31-26-13) at PENGUINS (37-24-8)
TV: 7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, ROOT, NHL.TV
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matthew Murray will start against the Carolina Hurricanes at Consol Energy Center on Thursday.
The start will be Murray's seventh in the NHL and first at home since a 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 30. Murray is 3-2-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.
Murray started four of five games from Dec. 19-Dec. 30 while goalie Marc-Andre Fleury recovered from a concussion. He allowed fewer than three goals in each of those four starts while going 2-1-1.
"[The starts] are never etched in stone," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We always discuss them as we approach the games, and the coaching staff felt that this was the right decision as far as making sure that we keep Marc at the top of his game, and we believe strongly that Matt gives us a good chance to win as well. He's played extremely well for us when he's been in there. He's a good goalie. … That's the logic that goes behind it. I think what's important for us is that we keep both guys very sharp."
Forward Carl Hagelin, who was given a maintenance day Wednesday, is expected to play Thursday. Hagelin was replaced by injured forward Beau Bennett (upper body) on Pittsburgh's second line to the left of center Nick Bonino and right wing Phil Kessel during his absence Wednesday, but participated in the Penguins' optional Thursday morning skate.
Hagelin has been held without a point in two straight games, each without second-line center Evgeni Malkin (upper body), after scoring in each of his previous four. He has four goals and 14 points in 24 games since being traded to Pittsburgh from the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 16.
"I should have a lot of energy tonight," Hagelin said. "[The Hurricanes] are a good team. … I think they've taken their last five games into OT, which shows they're a team that's good at playing 60-minute hockey. They're always going to be in it."
Because of the optional skate, any additional changes to the Penguins' lineup will not be known until later Thursday. The morning before Pittsburgh's 2-1 shootout win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, Sullivan said injured defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury, was for all intents and purposes ready to play, but Sullivan said he would like Lovejoy to practice a few times before returning.
Carolina did not skate Thursday following its 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
Here are the projected lineups:
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Chris Terry
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Brody Sutter
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Ryan Murphy
Trevor Carrick - Michal Jordan
Injured: Justin Faulk (lower body), Andrej Nestrasil (upper body), James Wisniewski (ACL)
Scratched: Ron Hainsey
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel
Dominik Simon - Matt Cullen - Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl - Eric Fehr - Conor Sheary
Olli Maatta - Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin - Trevor Daley
Ian Cole - Justin Schultz
Injured: Evgeni Malkin (upper body), Beau Bennett (upper body), Ben Lovejoy (upper body), Kevin Porter (ankle surgery), Scott Wilson (lower body)
Scratched: Derrick Pouliot, Jeff Zatkoff
Status report: Sullivan said Wilson (lower body) will require surgery and there is no definitive timetable for his return. … Carrick made his NHL debut Tuesday after being recalled from Charlotte earlier that day. He played 16:34 and recorded one shot.
Who's hot: Crosby has four goals and 14 points during a nine-game point streak. He is the only NHL player with multiple point streaks of nine games or more this season. … Rask was held without a point against the Capitals, but scored in four of his previous six games. His 41 points are two behind Skinner for the Hurricanes lead.