Penguins-Hurricanes Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 27, 2013
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.
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