Cincinnati.com
National Hockey League
Preview
Pittsburgh at Carolina
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, February 23, 2018
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

The Pittsburgh Penguins vie for their sixth consecutive victory overall and a split of the season series versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday when the Metropolitan Division rivals reconvene at PNC Arena. The Penguins dropped the first two encounters between the clubs before skating to a 3-1 win on Jan. 23 to ignite their current 10-1-1 stretch.

Evgeni Malkin has been front and center during Pittsburgh's torrid stretch by recording 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) in the past 11 games overall, including an assist in Sunday's 5-2 romp over Columbus to extend his point streak to four contests. The 2012 Hart Trophy winner leads the team in goals (33) and points (70), although he has been held off the scoresheet and registered a minus-2 rating in three encounters versus Carolina this season. The Hurricanes have alternated three-game winning and losing streaks over their last 12 contests, with a pair of losses to New Jersey highlighting their current stumble. Jeff Skinner reached the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in eight seasons on Sunday as he recorded his fifth tally in five games in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Devils

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, AT&T Sportsnet-Pittsburgh, TVAS, FS Carolinas

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (35-22-4): The run of good fortune continued for the Kessel family as Amanda followed up brother Phil's consecutive Stanley Cup titles with a gold medal for the United States Olympic women's hockey team on Wednesday. "I'm very proud of her. ... To be able to win a gold medal, it's a special accomplishment and I'm really proud of her," said the 30-year-old Phil Kessel, who has cooled off after a blistering 11-point, six-game stretch with just one assist in his last six outings. Canadian Matt Murray told reporters while "it's unfortunate that they beat my home country, ... it's a family in here, so when Phil's sister has some success, it feels like it's kind of everybody's family."

ABOUT THE HURRICANES (27-23-10): Sebastian Aho, who leads the team with 21 goals, aims to end a three-game scoreless stretch when he faces Pittsburgh, against which he tallied in Carolina's 2-1 triumph on Dec. 29 and added two goals and an assist in the Jan. 4 encounter. The 20-year-old Finn missed the team's most recent game as he recovered from both a concussion and a lower-body injury. Former Penguin Jordan Staal has struggled to get untracked this month, notching just three points - all assists - in 10 games this month.

OVERTIME

1. Carolina G Cam Ward, who turned aside all 21 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh on Jan. 4, owns an 18-11-4 mark in his career versus the club.

2. "All signs are looking positive" for Penguins RW Patric Hornqvist to return from an eight-game absence due to a lower-body injury, according to coach Mike Sullivan.

3. Pittsburgh RW Bryan Rust has collected 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in his past 13 games and C Jake Guentzel has eight (four goals, four assists) in his last nine.

PREDICTION: Hurricanes 3, Penguins 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Pittsburgh 35-22-2-2 W5 23-7-1-0 12-15-1-2 2-2-0-0 33-20-2-2 12-5-0-0
Carolina 27-23-7-3 L3 15-10-5-1 12-13-2-2 2-3-1-1 25-20-6-2 6-7-4-1
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Carolina
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
1/23/18 CAR 1 PIT 3 33 34 0-1 35 30 0-2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 1
Carolina D. Ryan 1
Goals Player  
Pittsburgh J. Dea 1
Carolina D. Ryan 1
Assists Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 1
Carolina L. Stempniak 1
Saves Player  
Pittsburgh C. DeSmith 34
Carolina C. Ward 30
Season
Total Points Player  
Pittsburgh E. Malkin 72
Carolina T. Teravainen 51
Goals Player  
Pittsburgh E. Malkin 34
Carolina S. Aho 22
Assists Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 48
Carolina T. Teravainen 34
Saves Player  
Pittsburgh M. Murray 1058
Carolina C. Ward 845
Quickchart Matchup
Pittsburgh Off vs  Carolina Def
3.16 GF
2.95 GA
34.1 Shots
28.8 Shots
53 PP
29 PK
Carolina Off vs  Pittsburgh Def
2.65 GF
2.92 GA
34.4 Shots
31.1 Shots
36 PP
36 PK