Carolina Hurricanes (21-16-7) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (28-11-5)
The Carolina Hurricanes host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at PNC Arena. This is the second meeting between the two Metropolitan Division rivals. In late December the Hurricanes lost 3-2 to the Penguins in a game they felt they could have won and will look to return the favor to the Penguins tonight. Tonight’s game holds playoff implications for both teams tonight as the Canes can jump into the last wild card spot with a win, and Pittsburg is only three points back from second place in the division.
The Hurricanes will have their hands full with a hot Penguins team that has scored a lot of goals lately. The Canes do have home ice advantage in their favor, though, and will come into tonight’s game with a 14-1-1 record over their last sixteen home games. Watch for tonight to be a tightly fought game.
Game Day By the Numbers
|4-1 L @ CBJ
|4-1 W @ MTL
Sebastian Aho continues to shine in his rookie season. With eleven goals and 24 points, Aho is on pace to put up twenty goals and 45 points. His countryman Teuvo Teravainen is also on pace for 45 points and the duo is gaining confidence with every game together. Aho scored the lone goal in the Hurricanes 4-1 loss to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. Watch for the pair of Finnish forwards to continue blossoming together and be a threat against the Penguins tonight.
Jeff Skinner has had bright flashes so far this season but if the Hurricanes want to have any success this season and earn a post season spot, Skinner needs to play good consistently. So far he is producing points at a solid rate, but those points come in big out bursts and then he goes quiet for a couple of games. Skinner is surprisingly still young but needs to round out his game if they Hurricanes want to rely on him. Skinner will play a huge part of any success the Canes have tonight. Without him playing at his full potential, they Hurricanes are a much less dangerous team.
The Hurricanes are playing at an astounding point pace on home ice as of late. In their last sixteen games, they have earned 29 points. If that pace holds up for their remaining 21 home games, including tonight, they will earn another 38 points. That would mean the Hurricanes would need to pick up about 9-10 points from their remaining seventeen road games. That is a tough ask, but it is certainly doable.
Tonight’s game is looking to be closer and closer to a full house. With the Hurricanes’ attendance on the rise, playing well in front of a big crowd tonight will only help to bring more people back into PNC Arena.
Michael Leighton was recalled from the Charlotte Checkers after going down to see some game action. Alex Nedeljkovic was sent back down after making his debut Tuesday night. Nedeljkovic looked good but still needs to develop. Look for Leighton to get a start in an upcoming game if Ward starts to show signs of fatigue.
Follow @CardiacCane for any further lineup changes or news.
How To Watch
PNC Arena: Puck Drop at 7:00 pm ET
Watch: Fox Sports Carolinas / Fox Sports Go app
Listen: 99.9 FM The Fan / WRALsportsfan.com