NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 22nd (All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (23-18-6) at Pittsburgh Penguins (29-15-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It came as little shock that the Penguins had trouble generating offense with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup. Pittsburgh could again be without both players this evening when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes at CONSOL Energy Center.
Crosby has missed the last seven games due to a concussion, while Malkin was forced to miss Thursday's 2-0 loss in New Jersey due to a knee injury. The talented Russian is also battling a sinus infection and is questionable for this game.
It marked the first time that the Penguins played without Crosby and Malkin in the regular season since the 2006-07 campaign.
Crosby is still not symptom free, so his return date is unknown. He is tied for the NHL lead with 66 points despite his lengthy absence and is second with 32 goals, while Malkin has 15 goals and 22 assists this season.
Pittsburgh was shut out for the third time this year and second time in six games on Thursday, with the Devils' Martin Brodeur stopping all 23 shots fired his way. Pittsburgh's Brent Johnson made 18 saves as the Penguins had a three- game winning streak end.
"They slow the game down and that is not our style," Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal said of the Devils. "We want to play high-tempo and up-and-down hockey. The way they clogged up the middle and took away our speed through the neutral zone makes it real frustrating for our team."
Pittsburgh fell five points back of Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference and will likely go with Marc-Andre Fleury tonight. He is 4-4-2 with a tie and 2.73 goals-against average lifetime versus the Hurricanes.
Carolina snapped a two-game slide and won for the fifth time in eight games on Thursday, knocking off the New York Rangers, 4-1, behind 39 saves by Cam Ward. The Hurricanes netminder had his shutout bid halted with 8:20 left in regulation.
"He's our wall back there. A lot of times when we make mistakes, he bails us out and they don't get noticed as much," said Chad LaRose, who had a goal and an assist.
Brandon Sutter notched his first goal in 17 games, while Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist. Skinner leads all rookies with 39 points.
Carolina is currently ninth overall in the East, two points back of Atlanta.
Ward is 9-4-2 with a 2.43 GAA in his career versus the Penguins.
Pittsburgh has won both of its meetings so far this year with Carolina and snapped a three-game home series losing streak with a 5-4 shootout tally in the last matchup on Nov. 19.
Crosby had a goal in regulation and in the tiebreaker, while Fleury made 30 saves and another two in the shootout.
01/22 10:45:02 ET