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Penguins Report: Fedotenko's Status Unknown for Carolina Game

by Deborah Francisco / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins practiced at Southpointe Friday morning before hitting the road for a three-game trip through the Southeast Division in Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay.

Ruslan Fedotenko did not play in the third period against the Devils on Wednesday because of an injury received during the game. He did not skate in the team’s optional practice on Thursday but did participate in Friday’s session.

“(Thursday) was an evaluation (for Fedotenko) and things came back in a positive way,” interim head coach Dan Bylsma said. “Just like everyone else, he was banged up and bruised but he is healthy and ready to go and that’s a good thing.”

The coaching staff will have to decide if Fedotenko will play against Carolina at RBC Center on Saturday at 7 p.m..

“We’re still going to make that decision (Saturday),” Bylsma said. “But we saw much more positive news today than yesterday.”

On the Road Again
After a season-long eight-game homestand, the Penguins hit the road for contests against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, the Florida Panthers on Sunday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The team has been in Pittsburgh for three straight weeks.

“It’s been a while, but that’s good,” Sidney Crosby said. “We did a good job here at home and now we have a big test with this road trip. The challenges keep coming for us. We want to play the same way, our tempo our style. I don’t think we want anything to change.”

“I think we have been lucky with the schedule,” Marc-Andre Fleury said. “We had a few days in-between games so it was good for the team.”

“Sometimes when you’re going on the road you think, ‘oh I’m going back on the road again,’ but, having been home for a while, I’m almost looking forward to getting back on the road,” Bylsma said. “It’s an exciting time of year. We’re looking forward to the games now. We still have a task at hand which is getting into the playoffs and securing a spot and that’s really our main focus right now.”

Weather Report: Hurricane Warning
The Penguins are prepared to face a tough Hurricanes team Saturday. The Hurricanes have won their past seven games straight and their past 10 at home, a franchise record. As of Friday, the Hurricanes are one point ahead of the Penguins in the Eastern Conference standings but Pittsburgh has played in one less game.

“They are a tough team,” Fleury said. “They are in front of us in the standings and they are having a great run right now and we’ve been doing alright too, so it should be a fun matchup. I think they are just playing well for the past month, they are just playing really good hockey.”

“We’re looking forward to a very high paced spirited game with two teams that are playing good hockey right now,” Bylsma said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

It will be a battle between the two hottest team’s in the NHL: Pittsburgh (13-1-2 in past 16); Carolina (11-1-2 in past 14).

“I think both teams have gained momentum in the last month and a half and that’s a good matchup,” Crosby said. “We pride ourselves on playing an up-tempo, physical game and they’re the same. It should be intense and a fun atmosphere. If you look at both of us, there are a lot of similarities in the style of play. I would say a playoff type of game.”

“Expect an energetic atmosphere with playoff implications,” Bylsma said. “It’s all going to be there and that’s the great thing about this time of the year. The similar thing about us right now is that we are both confident teams. We are playing a certain style, we believe in it and when you play 60 minutes you have success and you can see that in their team. They’ve won two games coming from behind, they’ve come out and put 40 shots on good teams and they have a lot of confidence in the way they are playing. That’s very similar to our team right now.”

On Hurricanes Goalie Cam Ward
The NHL named Ward as the league’s first star of the month of March. Ward earned a 10-1-2 record with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage in 13 games in March. He has started each of the Hurricanes’ last 25 games, posting a 17-6-2 record, 2.29 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage and two shutouts in that span.

“(Ward) has been playing great,” Fleury said. “We played together for Team Canada junior and I got to know him there. He is a good goalie.”

“He is a solid goalie,” Crosby said. “He’s a guy who has won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe. He’s just a calm guy and he likes to play his position. He doesn’t over-commit. He is just solid technically.”

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