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
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
“The third period was the difference,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “We did a good job in the second of getting momentum. We
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,
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
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
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.