The Pittsburgh Penguins’ winning streak and Sidney Crosby’s
point streak came to an end in their latest game, but both team and
captain still have good runs going against the Carolina
Crosby has recorded a point in nine straight games against the
Hurricanes, and he’ll hope to see the injury-riddled Penguins get
some reinforcements back Friday night in Raleigh as they go for a
fifth consecutive win versus Carolina.
Pittsburgh (27-11-1) had won a season-high seven in a row before
Monday’s 5-0 loss at Ottawa to open a four-game road trip.
“I think we knew we weren’t going to win every game until the
end, but every time you lose it’s frustrating, especially when it’s
5-0,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said.
That was the end of Crosby’s 10-game point streak, during which
he recorded seven goals and 11 assists, though that was the least
of the Penguins’ concerns. Crosby briefly left after a first-period
collision with linemate Pascal Dupuis that he said “almost blew my
knee out,” but Dupuis wasn’t as lucky. The winger was helped off
and Pittsburgh announced Friday that he’ll have ACL surgery and
likely miss the rest of the season.
“There’s a lot that he brings,” coach Dan Bylsma told the team’s
official website. “He’s also a big part of that dressing room. That
is part of what we’ll miss from Pascal.”
Dupuis joins a long list of injured Penguins that includes
forwards Evgeni Malkin, Beau Bennett, Andrew Ebbett, Tanner Glass
and Jayson Megna and defensemen Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks
Orpik and Rob Scuderi.
Bylsma’s club will get at least a few players back Friday. Glass
and Orpik are expected to play, defenseman Deryk Engelland is
available to return from a five-game suspension and Scuderi and
Malkin are close to returning.
Carolina (14-15-8) certainly doesn’t want the Penguins to have
any additional help. Pittsburgh has won each of the past four
matchups by multiple goals, outscoring the Hurricanes 21-9.
That includes two meetings this season in which Crosby had two
assists apiece. He’s recorded two goals and 13 assists during his
nine-game series point streak.
Carolina comes back from the Christmas break hoping to again
stop a brief losing streak. The Hurricanes thought they were on
their way to ending a two-game skid Monday, up 3-2 on Columbus with
less than five minutes remaining, but gave up two goals in 1:28 to
lose 4-3 in regulation.
“It felt like we shot ourselves in the foot,” captain Eric Staal
said. “This was a game we had to have. You can’t lose points in
your own building when you’re up by one with 10 minutes left. It’s
frustrating, and guys aren’t happy about it.”
Carolina has dropped six of seven and has blown leads in each of
its three straight losses.
“We’re not a team that’s going to sit back,” said Jeff Skinner,
who has an NHL-high 10 goals since Dec. 3. “When we get the lead,
you’re not going to see us sit back. That’s not our game. At the
same time, we’ve got to make smart plays.”
Skinner has failed to record a point in his last three games
against the Penguins, though he missed a 3-1 home loss Oct. 28 with
an upper-body injury. Staal went scoreless in that matchup after
having two goals and four assists in his previous four versus
Brother Jordan has yet to score a goal in five games against his
Justin Peters, who has started four of Carolina’s last five
games, is 2-4-1 with a 4.22 goals-against average against the
The Hurricanes will be without Jiri Tlusty for two to three
weeks after the forward underwent an emergency appendectomy
Tuesday. The team filled his spot by recalling forward Zach Boychuk
from Charlotte of the AHL.