PENGUINS (27-19-7) at HURRICANES (24-21-9)
TV: 7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, ROOT, FS-CR, NHL.TV
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk will be a game-time decision Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Hurricanes trail the Penguins by four points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, and will try to close the gap when the teams play at PNC Arena.
Faulk, who leads the Hurricanes in scoring with 34 points, left practice Thursday after getting tangled with forward Brad Malone and falling hard into the boards. Faulk was on the ice prior to Carolina's morning skate Friday, but did not continue to skate with the group.
"He got treatment this morning, and he will be a game-time decision," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "I think he will be able to play, but we'll see."
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan confirmed defenseman Trevor Daley will play, after he left a 3-0 loss Wednesday to the New York Rangers in the first period and didn't return.
"He felt pretty good out there today," Sullivan said after the morning skate.
The Hurricanes are coming off a four-day break that followed a 1-1-1 road trip. With the New York Islanders following on Saturday at PNC Arena, Carolina knows the significance of facing two teams they are chasing in the Eastern Conference.
"You look at the standing every night, and people are picking up points," said forward Jeff Skinner, who leads the Hurricanes with 19 goals. "If you're not getting points, you're falling behind. So it's big for us to come out this weekend and have a big two games. You're playing for the two points, but also so the other team doesn't get the two points."
The Hurricanes won the first two games against the Penguins this season, 2-1 on Dec. 19 at Pittsburgh and 3-2 on Jan. 17 in Raleigh. The Penguins won 5-0 at home on Jan. 17. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby expects the fourth game to be competitive.
"I think we play pretty similar games, to be honest with you," said Crosby, whose seven-game goal-scoring streak ended in the 3-0 loss to the Rangers. "We're both pretty fast-paced. When we've played one another, the games have been quick up and down the ice, so I expect that style of game here."
Here are the projected lineups:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin - Matt Cullen - Phil Kessel
Scott Wilson - Kevin Porter - Conor Sheary
Tom Kuhnhackl - Oskar Sundqvist - Bryan Rust
Trevor Daley - Brian Dumoulin
Kris Letang - Olli Maatta
Derrick Pouliot - Ben Lovejoy
Injured: Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Beau Bennett (upper body), Nick Bonino (hand), David Warsofsky (concussion), Eric Fehr (lower body)
Scratched: Ian Cole, Sergei Plotnikov
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Nathan Gerbe - Jay McClement - Chris Terry
Justin Faulk - Ron Hainsey
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin
Injured: James Wisniewski (knee)
Scratched: Riley Nash, Brad Malone, Michal Jordan
Status report: If Faulk is unable to play, Jordan will take his spot in the lineup.
Who's hot: Crosby has 22 points in the past 11 games. … Letang has two goals and three assists in the past three games. … Jordan Staal has 16 points in the past 14 games.