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Penguins aim for 3-0 start as Hurricanes visit

by Eric Goodman /

HURRICANES (1-0-1) at PENGUINS (2-0-0)


Season series: This is the first of four games between these Metropolitan Division clubs. The Pittsburgh Penguins took the 2012-13 series with a 2-1-0 record.

Big story: The Penguins have been perfect against the Carolina Hurricanes at Consol Energy Center recently with five straight home victories over the former Southeast Division team. Pittsburgh will also try to establish a season-opening three-game home winning streak Tuesday.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes: The first line of Eric Staal, Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty has been held scoreless over Carolina's first two games this season, but the secondary lines have stepped up quite nicely. The scoring has been coming from a mix of youngsters and veterans, with 21-year-old left wing Jeff Skinner leading the club with three assists and 36-year-old right wing Radek Dvorak chipping in with a goal in each of the Hurricanes' first two games.

"No question. It's very, very encouraging," Staal told the Hurricanes' web site Monday, regarding the lineup depth. "That's a key piece to a great team: having balance in your lineup."

Penguins: The Penguins are perennial favorites for the Stanley Cup due to a mix of talented forwards, shut-down defenseman and good goaltending. The team is off to another quality start this season with seven goals for and just one against over the first two games. Goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury was up to the task again Sunday in a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, recording 20 saves in an overall quiet night between the pipes.

"Tonight [Fleury] didn't see a ton, 21 shots, but just the calmness in net. He's been solid and in control," coach Dan Bylsma told about his goaltender who earned NHL Third Star of the Week honors Monday.

Who's hot: Besides Skinner and Dvorak, defenseman Jay Harrison has contributed with two points (one goal, one assist) over his first two games. … Although the lineup features strong scoring forwards like Sidney Crosby, James Neal and Evgeni Malkin, it's actually defenseman Matt Niskanen that currently leads the Penguins with three points (all assists).

Injury report: For Carolina, defenseman Tim Gleason (concussion) is out indefinitely and fellow blueliner Joni Pitkanen (heel) is on injured reserve. … Neal (upper body) is questionable for Pittsburgh after aggravating an injury Thursday against the New Jersey Devils. Backup goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) is out 3-6 months. Defenseman Kris Letang (leg) and forward Matt D'Agostini (lower body) are on injured reserve for the Penguins.

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