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Preview: Penguins at Hurricanes

Goalie Cam Ward makes 21st straight start for Carolina; Matt Murray goes for Pittsburgh

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

PENGUINS (28-11-5) at HURRICANES (21-16-7)

7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, ROOT, NHL.TV


Penguins team scope

Goaltender Matt Murray will make his third straight start for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they meet the Carolina Hurricanes for the second of four games this season. The Penguins defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 at Pittsburgh on Dec. 28 despite being outshot 46-26. "They played with a lot of speed and had a lot of shots," captain Sidney Crosby said. "We need to make sure we're not turning pucks over. The pace they play at jumps out right away." coach Mike Sullivan figures Carolina's top-rated penalty kill (89.1 percent) could make a difference. "They put power plays under pressure," he said. "That's going to be the challenge for our power play tonight. Puck possession is going to be more important than puck position. We can't just go to our power-play positions, we have to make sure we support the puck. If we're able to handle their aggression, I believe we will get opportunities to score." The Penguins are 9-9-3 on the road.


Hurricanes team scope

Goaltender Cam Ward will make his 21st consecutive start for the Hurricanes, who are one point out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Ward was lifted after giving up four goals on 17 shots in a 4-1 loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. The loss snapped Carolina's four-game winning streak. With the Penguins averaging four goals per game during the past 10 games, coach Bill Peters wants to limit the amount of time Pittsburgh spends on offense. "The big thing is you've got to make them defend too, make sure they're using up some energy and spending some time in the defensive zone," he said. "They're going to get to pucks, they're going to win foot races. They've got too much speed throughout the lineup. They're not afraid to flip it to [open] space. If you do it often enough, you're going to win some of those." Carolina begins its 10th set of back-to-backs. The Hurricanes play at Columbus on Saturday.


Penguins projected lineup

Conor Sheary -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Jake Guentzel -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Carl Hagelin -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz -- Eric Fehr -- Scott Wilson

Olli Maatta -- Trevor Daley

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Cameron Gaunce -- Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Steve Oleksy, Tom Kuhnhackl

Injured: Kris Letang (lower body), Brian Dumoulin (broken jaw), Matt Cullen (foot) 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Derek Ryan

Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen -- Lee Stempniak

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Viktor Stalberg

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Ron Hainsey -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin - Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward

Michael Leighton

Scratched: Klas Dahlbeck, Ryan Murphy, Ty Rattie

Injured: Eddie Lack (concussion), Bryan Bickell (illness) 


Status report

Dumoulin and Letang each took extra on-ice work after Pittsburgh's morning skate. … Leighton, who has served as Carolina's primary backup goaltender since Nov. 22, made two starts for Charlotte of the American Hockey League this week before his recall.


Who's hot

Malkin has a five-game point streak (5-2-7) including a hat trick in an 8-7 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Monday. Sheary has two goals and two assists in the past two games ... Staal has two goals and nine points in the past seven games. McGinn has four goals and seven points in the past four games.

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