The Pittsburgh Penguins
are showing no signs of a Stanley Cup hangover. The Penguins are off to an 8-1-0 start, the second-best in franchise history, and will go for their seventh victory in a row on Friday night when the Florida Panthers
come to Mellon Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network-Canada).
The Penguins are coming off one of the most dominant performances by any team this season, a 5-1 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday in which they outshot the Blues 20-3 in the first period and 43-23 for the game. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
made 22 saves to improve to 8-0-0 this season, and Evgeni Malkin
leads a balanced attack with 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points.
The only drawback to Tuesday's win was the loss of All-Star defenseman Sergei Gonchar
, who's out indefinitely with a broken wrist.
The Panthers (2-5-0) are coming off a 5-2 home loss to Buffalo in which they surrendered all five goals in the first period, including two in the first 1:56.
The Minnesota Wild
hope to build on Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win over Colorado when they visit St. Louis (8 p.m. ET). The win over the Avs broke Minnesota's five-game losing streak, but the Wild goes into St. Louis with six losses in as many road games. The Blues are coming off a road trip that ended with the wipeout in Pittsburgh but was highlighted by a 5-0 victory at Anaheim last Saturday.
Colorado returns home after a very successful seven-game trip to host the struggling Carolina Hurricanes
(9 p.m. ET). The Avs went 4-1-2 on the long trip, including four consecutive wins last week in Original Six cities. At 6-1-2, this year's team looks nothing like the club that finished last in the West in 2008-09.
Carolina is playing the third of a four-game road trip. The Hurricanes lost 2-0 at New Jersey last Saturday and were beaten 4-3 in a shootout by the Islanders on Wednesday.