Connect with us


Penguins vs. Carolina, Game 31: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes game

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Pittsburgh Penguins have won seven games in a row, which makes them the hottest team in the NHL.

They are, however, only nominally ahead of Carolina in that regard, because the Hurricanes are 8-0-1 in their past nine games in the wake of a 5-4 overtime victory against Dallas Saturday night at PNC Arena. That stretch includes an overtime loss at Anaheim, sandwiched by a pair of four-game winning streaks.

Beating the Stars allowed the Hurricanes to break a tie with the Penguins and claim sole possession of second place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Hurricanes’ offense has been surprisingly ordinary through the first 30 games, averaging just 2.9 goals per game, but their team defense is excellent. Carolina is allowing an average of 2.63 goals per game, fifth-lowest figure in the league.

“They’re one of the hardest teams, man-on-man, in all three zones, in the league,” Mike Sullivan said. “They play a suffocating defense in all three zones. They make you work for the ice out there. Because of that, they’re a team that’s difficult to play against.

“They have real mobile defensemen. They have good size on defense, with long reaches. I think Jordan Staal is probably one of the better defensive centermen in the league, so he’s going to make it hard on us, as well. They’re a good hockey team. They’re well-balanced. They’ve got skill up front, but they have a real mobile defense corps that I think is one of the more underrated aspects of their team.”

The new cornerstone of that defense is veteran Brent Burns, acquired from San Jose in July. He is averaging a team-high 23 minutes, 44 seconds of ice time and needs one point for 800 in the NHL.

History suggests there’s a fairly good chance he will get it this evening, since he has 18 points in 23 career games against the Penguins.

This will be just the Penguins’ fifth game inside the Metropolitan Division this season — they are 3-0-1 in the previous four — but is the start of a stretch during which they will play five of six against Metro opponents. They will face the Hurricanes twice, and have single meetings with the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey.

“Those games are big games, and they’re against very good teams,” Bryan Rust said. “We have to try to make the most of them.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are 14-2-2 in their past 18 games, will not conduct a game-day skate, and are expected to announce their starting goaltender a couple of hours before the game.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines











Expected Carolina Hurricanes Lines, per



Martinook- Staal-Fast





de Haan-Chatfield



Special Teams

Penguins Power Play: 22 of 101, 21.8%, 18th

Penguins Penalty Kill: 16 of 94, 83%, 4th

Hurricanes Power Play: 19 of 101, 18.8%, 26th

Hurricanes Penalty Kill: 21 of 102, 79.4%, 15th

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins are 5-3-2 when they have two days between games this season, while Carolina is 4-0 in the second game when playing on consecutive days.
History suggests the Penguins, who are 5-1-3 in their past nine games in Raleigh, could do worse than to take this game to a shootout. They’re 5-2 all-time against the Hurricanes while that happens.
Sidney Crosby has 19 goals and 40 assists in 52 career games against Carolina.
The Penguins are 8-0-1 in their past nine away games, the longest streak of games on the road with points in franchise history.
Tristan Jarry is 6-0 in his past half-dozen starts, with a 2.00 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in them.
Rickard Rakell will be playing in his 600th career NHL game, the last 50 of which will have been with the Penguins.
The Penguins’ power play has scored on 10 of 27 chances during their seven-game winning streak, while their penalty-kill has given up just three goals in 41 shorthanded situations since Nov. 15.
Penguins alum Jordan Staal has four goals and eight assists in 28 career games against his former team.
The Hurricanes have outshot their opposition in 24 of their 30 games, going 16-5-3 when that happens.

How to Watch

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: 105.9 The X