| Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Vancouver Canucks |
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|Mikael Samuelsson |
| ||F - #26 |
|• The former Penguin is coming off of a career year which saw him post personal bests in goals (30), points (53) and game-winning goals (4). |
• Followed that up with an outstanding postseason, recording eight goals and 15 points in 12 games.
• Spent 22 games with the Penguins during the 2002-03 season before being part of the package which was dealt to the Florida Panthers to move up in the Entry Draft and to select Marc-Andre Fleury.
|Ryan Kesler |
| ||F - #17 |
|• A 20-goal scorer each of the past three seasons, he is on his way to another big campaign with nine goals – the second-best total on the team – through 17 games. |
• Is one of the most underrated all-around players in the NHL. He ranks second in the league in faceoff wins (200), while pacing the Canucks in shots (58) and TOI among forwards (20:28).
• Was a member of the silver-medal winning United States Olympic team during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
|Christian Ehrhoff |
| ||D - #5 |
|• At 6-foot-5, 218 pounds, he provides a quiet, shutdown presence along the back line. |
• Leads the team with 48 hits and ranks second with 26 blocked shots.
• Was acquired by the Canucks from the Carolina Hurricanes at last season’s trading deadline to provide extra depth for Vancouver’s playoff push.
|Two of the National Hockey League’s top Stanley Cup contenders will do battle at CONSOL Energy Center on Wednesday night when the Penguins play host to the Vancouver Canucks. This is the final leg of a five-game, 13-day road swing for the Canucks, who are currently 2-1-1 during their trek. |
Vancouver is led by the Sedin twins – Henrik and Daniel – who once again rank among the league leaders with 23 points each through 17 games, good for fourth in the NHL scoring race.
Henrik is the reigning scoring champion, edging out Sidney Crosby last season by three points (112-109). With brother Daniel healthy, Henrik is once again pacing the league in assists with 21 through 17 games, five more than second-place Crosby.
Daniel, who missed 19 games last year due to injury, is back to his sniping self, notching 12 goals through the first 17 games to rank third in the league (tied with Crosby). Daniel is a five-time 20-goal scorer, including last season, when he notched 29 in just 63 games.
The play of the Sedin brothers is the primary reason the Canucks rank third in the Western Conference and first in the Pacific Division with a 10-4-3 record through Tuesday, but to say they carry the team would be an injustice to the talented group general manager Mike Gillis has built.
Roberto Luongo is back for another season between the pipes. A five-time 30-game winner, Luongo is once again thriving in 2010-11, especially now that he is getting regular rest thanks to the development of rookie Cory Schneider as his partner. Schneider is 3-0-1 with a 1.59 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in five games.
Defensively, the Canucks really don’t feature any household names, but they have assembled a group that is as good as any in the National Hockey League.
Alexander Edler, 24, continues to emerge as a bona-fide No. 1 defenseman in his third season. Edler leads all Canuck blueliners in goals (2), assists (11), points (13) and time on ice (25:00). Veteran Christian Ehrhoff has also helped pick up the offensive load with 10 points (2G-8A).
Dan Hamhuis, Andrew Alberts, Kevin Bieksa and Keith Ballard provide one of the best group of shutdown presences in the league.
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- Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury enters Monday’s contest riding three consecutive outstanding performances. Since picking up his 150th career NHL win on Nov. 12 against the Lightning, Fleury has posted a 2-0-1 record, 1.96 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.
- This is the first meeting between Sidney Crosby and Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo since the two teamed together at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to lead Team Canada to a gold medal. Both players were instrumental in the 3-2 overtime victory over Team USA in the Gold Medal Game. Crosby scored the game-winning tally 7:40 into the extra session while Luongo stopped 34 of 36 shots.
- The Penguins celebrated the team’s 175th consecutive sellout on Monday night against the New York Rangers. They will achieve another milestone on Wednesday when they will surpass the three-million mark in attendance during the streak, which began on Feb. 14, 2007 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Not only did Crosby extend his personal scoring streak to a season-high six games with an assist on Monday night, he also had a career night in the faceoff dot against the Rangers. Crosby won a regular-season single-game high 25 faceoffs against New York for a 78.1 success rate that is the second-highest of his career.
- A programming note for fans: HBO Sports® will present “Preview to 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road To The NHL Winter Classic,” a 12-minute preview of the upcoming NHL reality series featuring the spirited rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, which is set to air exclusively on HBO. Debuting Saturday, Nov. 20 at 12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT (or immediately following the conclusion of the live World Championship Boxing telecast from Atlantic City), the special will serve as a primer to the acclaimed series for new viewers as well an introduction of the players and coaches from the Penguins and Capitals, who will appear on the all-access series.
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|Stop the Twins: Vancouver is one of the most complete teams in the NHL. They have scoring depth up front, a solid defensive corps and outstanding goaltending. All that said, the key to beating the Canucks is still stopping the Sedin twins. Last season, they combined for five points (Henrik, 1G-2A; Daniel, 2A) in the 6-2 defeat of the Penguins. |
Stay Out of the Box: Pittsburgh did this to perfection against the Rangers, giving New York zero power-play opportunities throughout the game. The chances of that happening again aren’t good, but the Penguins do have to make sure they limit how many cracks they give Vancouver, which is clicking at 29.2 percent on the man-advantage.
| ||C Jordan Staal, broken right hand (up to 4 weeks) |
RW Tyler Kennedy, illness (day-to-day)
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| ||D Ryan Parent, groin (indefinitely) |
LW Guillaume Desbiens, broken hand (indefinitely)
C Alexandre Bolduc, high ankle sprain (late November)
D Sami Salo, Achilles (mid-December)
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|Crosby (12) ||D. Sedin (12) |
|Crosby (16) ||H. Sedin (21) |
|Crosby (28) ||D. Sedin/H. Sedin (23) |
|Engelland (40) ||Rypien (31) |
|Letang (+9) ||Three tied (+4) |
|Crosby (5) ||D. Sedin (6) |
|Cooke (2) |
|Malhotra (1) |
|Johnson (6-2-1) ||Luongo (7-4-2) |
|Johnson (2.11) ||Schneider (1.59) |
|Johnson (.927) ||Schneider (.949) |
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| ||Chris Kunitz - A staple on Sidney Crosby’s left side, the hard-nosed Kunitz deserves some credit for Crosby’s six-game scoring streak. Over his past five games, Kunitz has scored three goals and added an assist. He is also providing a net-front presence and opening up space for Crosby with his straight-line game. |
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| ||Christian Ehrhoff - The Canucks No. 2 blueliner will bring a three-game assist streak into Wednesday night’s game. In addition to what he can bring offensively with his booming shot, Ehrhoff is also very solid in his own zone. He has been plus or even in 13 of 17 games. || |
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Sidney Crosby Ranks Among League's Best
Penguins Report: Practice 11/16/10
"Preview to 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" Premieres Saturday, November 20 on HBO
Price, Crosby and Semin Named NHL 'Three Stars' of the Week
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