Pittsburgh Penguins (15-7-4) at Carolina Hurricanes (8-15-4)
RBC Center, 7 p.m.
TV: FS-Carolinas, ROOT Sports
Instead of going into the details on this game, I’m going to spread a word of advice that commonly gets spread around at concerts; Don’t be a dick. No one wants to be that guy who is always causing problems in the pit just like no one wants to be that guy who decides to be a loud mouth or a sore loser at games. I am saying this because the Penguins have one of the strongest traveling fanbases in the league and there tends to be a lot in the crowd at RBC Center when their team is in town. I don’t know how their fans behave at games but if they act like assholes then just walk on by and ignore them. In the end, this is just sports and we go to games to have fun so there’s no need to get bent out of shape because someone is saying bad things about the team you root for. There’s nothing wrong with poking fun at the opposition and some good natured ribbing but garbage like this, really needs to go away.
The Pens aren’t our rivals so I’m going to assume there isn’t much of that occurring, but the turf wars that go on between rival fans has been on my mind for awhile and I wanted to say something about it. Now let’s talk about some hockey.
Lines, Analysis & more after the jump
Ruutu – Staal – Skinner
Ponikarovsky – Jokinen – LaRose
Tlusty – Sutter – Dwyer
Stewart – Brent – Nodl
Gleason – Faulk
Pitkanen – Joslin
Allen – Kaberle
Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Sullivan – Malkin – Neal
Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
Asham – Park – Adams
Orpik – Martin
Engelland – Niskanen
Despres – Bortuzzo
What happened last time?
Neal – Malkin – Sullivan were a force the last time and somehow managed to stay off the scoresheet. We may not be as lucky this time so I’m hoping we can contain them better. However, we also have to worry about Sidney Crosby on their first line so it would be a good idea to keep Allen & Gleason separated so we have at least one of them against their scoring lines.
Interesting how the Pens forward corps is finally healthy now but now their defense is crippled with Kris Letang and Zbyneck Michalek out. Carolina doesn’t have too many favorable matchups in this game but if Kirk Muller can get one of his top-lines against Despres & Bortuzzo then I have to think it will work in our favor. The Pens defensive third line also didn’t play well last game but they got a little better with Jordon Staal moving back down there so that will have an effect.
Having Sutter back on the third line definitely helps because it gives us a line we can match up with either Crosby or Malkin. One of the reasons Malkin’s line had such a ridiculous game the last time was due to the lack of a shutdown line we could put against them. Although, that might be an issue with Crosby back now. Maybe this will be a good chance to see what Andreas Nodl & Tim Brent can do as defensive forwards? It’s a tough assignment but Nodl played tough minutes in Philly so it’s not like we’re sending a scrub out against Crosby.
No notes today, so enjoy the game.