Last night, the Carolina Hurricanes took possession of the top place in the NHL standings. They don’t get to enjoy it for long, as tonight the new top dog of the league is put to the test in the Steel City. It’s PPG Paints Arena as the Hurricanes will complete this back to back in Pennsylvania. It’s the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins in this battle of the Metropolitan Division titans.
Pittsburgh is the team closest to the Hurricanes within the division, and that makes this a one versus two showdown in the league’s bloodbath division. Carolina looks to put a stranglehold on the Metropolitan Division title, whereas the Penguins are looking to bridge the gap to the league-leading Carolina Hurricanes. There’s a lot to look forward to in this one. Two titans clash in Pittsburgh.
Carolina arrives in Pennsylvania hoping to complete the three-game season sweep over their divisional foes. Carolina topped Pittsburgh in OT at PNC Arena last week and won the first meeting of the season here at PPG Paints Arena. A win for the Canes would put them 10 points clear in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand on their black and gold foes.
In a game that Pittsburgh really needs to chase to give themselves a shot at getting back into the race for the division lead, Carolina could effectively end their chances here tonight. This is the start of a tough nine-game stretch for the Hurricanes, and victory would help them start it off on the right foot as they go through one heck of a gauntlet in the coming weeks to end the month.
It’s the same skater core as the win last night against the Flyers for this one. It’s expected we see Antti Raanta go back to work in the paint after he was the backup last night. He’s been incredible as of late, and he will be expected to give the Carolina Hurricanes a chance to win this game. He has already beaten the Penguins twice this season so tonight we watch the Hurricanes and Raanta attempt to sweep the regular-season series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.