The Carolina Hurricanes begin a brief, two-game road trip through the Keystone state. Tonight’s game will be the third meeting with the Pittsburgh Penguins since November 29th.
Since the last visit to Pittsburgh, Rod Brind’Amour’s group is 9-0-1, including two victories against the Penguins.
The Penguins have been hot themselves, having won 8 of their last 10 games.
Sidney Crosby and friends are sitting in third place in the Metro Division with 42 points. Just four points behind the Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils for first place.
Once again, the Hurricanes will have a big divisional match-up to play.
It certainly is the right time for the Hurricanes to be playing such important games when they are on a roll and Pyotr Kochetkov is showing the world a glimpse of his potential.
Both teams are evenly matched, and it has shown in the last two contests. Both games were decided by one goal and the game in Pittsburgh was in OT.
Expect another tight match against these two division contenders. It will more than likely be decided by the goaltenders.
If Kochetkov stays hot, the Hurricanes will be able to find enough offense to edge out the Penguins for the third time.
The brief road trip will conclude tomorrow in Philadelphia against the Flyers.
It will no doubt be a good opportunity for Antti Raanta to get back in between the pipes and find his rhythm after defeating the Dallas Stars last week with 26 saves.
It may also be a showcase for interested suitors to see Raanta live in action.
The Flyers have struggled under first-year coach, John Tortorella. Tortorella has been around the block and demands a specific style from his players.
Unlike against Dallas, Raanta will not be facing as powerful of an offense.
The Flyers will play a hard, physical style and will be responsible on their own end. It will not be a cakewalk by any means and the Hurricanes will be fatigued after tonight’s battle.
After such a long trip on the road, the team will have a brief break before getting back for the holidays.