Penguins-Hurricanes Preview

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had plenty of shots on goal in the

last three games but not too many have gone in the net.

A lack of goals hasn’t been an issue for Pittsburgh in recent

matchups with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Penguins will try to snap a three-game losing streak Monday

night by continuing their success against a Hurricanes team that’s

missing top goaltender Cam Ward.

The Penguins (7-4-0) are among the NHL leaders with 33.0 shots

per game and have put an average of 38.0 on net in their last

three. Despite an increase in chances, they’ve been outscored 9-4

in those games while going 1 for 15 on the power play.

“We definitely look forward to the opportunity (for a

turnaround) again,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “The three games, while

a little bit different, have a similar theme to them, we carry the

play, outshoot.”

Pittsburgh registered 38 shots on goal in Toronto on Saturday

but Kris Letang scored the team’s lone goal on a first-period power

play. The Penguins gave up three goals in the third period of that

4-1 defeat.

“The third period was the difference,” captain Sidney Crosby

said. “We did a good job in the second of getting momentum. We

didn’t capitalize.”

Crosby has one goal during the losing streak after totaling

seven goals and 10 assists during the team’s 7-1-0 start. The

team’s other two points leaders, Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin,

have combined for two assists during the skid, the team’s longest

since a string of six consecutive losses Dec. 29, 2011-Jan. 11,

2012.

Malkin, however, has played a significant role in helping the

Penguins outscore Carolina 18-8 during a three-game win streak in

the series. The 2012 league MVP has two goals and three assists in

those matchups – part of a 10-game point streak versus the

Hurricanes – while Jussi Jokinen has a team-best five goals and one

assist.

Jokinen, who played for parts of five seasons for Carolina,

recorded his second career hat trick in a 5-2 home victory over the

Hurricanes on Oct. 8 with Ward in net.

Carolina (4-4-3) is not expected to have its No. 1 goaltender

available for the next three to four weeks due to a lower-body

injury. The team’s backup, Anton Khudobin, has missed the past five

games also because of an ailing lower body.

The Hurricanes had two goaltenders who started the season in the

minors, Justin Peters and Mike Murphy, dress for Friday’s visit to

Colorado. After Ward was injured in Thursday’s 3-1 loss to

Minnesota, Peters got the start against the Avalanche, and stopped

30 shots in a 4-2 loss.

Carolina was also without leading scorer Jeff Skinner (upper

body), who is day-to-day.

”(Peters is) battling in there,” coach Kirk Muller said. ”A

couple of those plays were odd-number situations, two on one. Guys

losing their assignments put him in a vulnerable spot.”

The status of Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi is unknown

because of a lower-body injury suffered Saturday. The Penguins had

just gotten their corps of blue liners back to full strength with

Letang coming off of injured reserve (lower body) this past

weekend.

Pittsburgh is 6-1-0 in its last seven games against Carolina

even with Crosby missing four of those matchups.

Crosby has two goals and 11 assists during an eight-game point

streak against the Hurricanes.