The Carolina Hurricanes begin their six-game road trip this evening against divisional rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both teams enter tonight looking to get an edge in a tight Metropolitan Division.
The Penguins are two points behind the Hurricanes with the same amount of games played.
Both teams currently hold a playoff position as the Penguins hold the last Wild Card position by one point on the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers.
The Penguins enter the evening having lost their last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4-1 at home.
The Penguins have struggled at home this year with a 4-3-1 record.
Although the record at home is nothing special, the Penguins have played solid hockey in their last ten games. With a 7-2-1 record, the Penguins have jumped up the standings while teams like the Rangers and Washing Capitals have struggled.
The Penguins are loaded with future Hall of Famers and a plethora of talent.
Similar to the Hurricanes, the Penguins have struggled on the power play despite the skill. However, the team has scored 77 goals this season, which is 6th in the Conference.
The Hurricanes have scored just 61 goals but allowed only 61 goals. The Penguins have allowed 70 goals.
Currently, on the second game of a five-game homestand, the Penguins will look to turn things around against Carolina.
Sidney Crosby leads the team with 29 points and 11 goals. Not surprisingly, Evgeni Malkin is being him with 20 points and 8 goals.
Richard Rakell and Jake Guentzel have been lightning the lamp at a consistent pace with 9 and 10 goals respectively.
Top defenseman, Kris Letang, has struggled on the defensive side this season and currently is a -7. Letang leads the team in time on ice with 23:54.
The opportunity to pin the Penguins deep will be there for the Hurricanes, but the scoring chances have not been the problem this season.
Finishing dangerous scoring chances will be the objective tonight and often.
The Penguins may be susceptible to giving up goals but they will come right back and create odd man rushes with dangerous finishers.
Naturally special teams will be play a part and the Hurricanes may have found something in the last game against the Calgary Flames.
Tristan Jarry should be in net tonight with a 2.90 GAA and a .914 save percentage.
Whether it is Jarry or Casey DeSmith, the Hurricanes forwards will need to create chaos in front of the netminder and pounce on the rebounds.
Antti Raanta is coming off another solid performance in the win against Calgary but it would not be surprising to see Pyotr Kochetkov back between the pipes.
Rod Brind’Amour likes what Kochetkov has brought on and off the ice this season and will certainly want to play the hot hand.
Kochetkov brings that highlight save ability to the table and that will be needed against the Penguins power packed forwards.
This game could get high scoring but the Hurricanes structured play and edge on defense should give them a solid opportunity to take two very important points tonight.