7:00 p.m., PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
The Last Penguins Game: February 26, 2013 - Florida 6, Pittsburgh 4 [Recap]
After suffering a pretty bad loss in Florida the Penguins have a couple of pretty tough road games starting with the game tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. There might be some reason this game is a kinda big deal for Penguins fans but I just can't put my finger on it.
But yea, Jordan Staal is going to be playing his first game against the Penguins since that draft that sent him to play in Carolina and sign a pretty significant contract. I am sure this is going to get beat in the ground all the way to China but if you want to know what I think about Staal you can read about what I said way back in June. It has been weird to see Staal in another jersey when you are watching highlights but I think it will be even more weird when we see him lined up on the other side of Sidney Crosby trying to shut him down.
On the flip side Brandon Sutter will be going back to Carolina. If you remember from when the trade happened he was pretty caught off guard by the situation and you could tell back then that he really loved playing for the Hurricanes and really wanted to help them turn things around. I am sure it is going to be a little bit more emotional night for him since he is going back to Carolina for the game but I would assume that Staal is going to get much more of the talk leading up to the game.
Outside of the obvious story lines the Penguins could really use a win here. The loss in Florida was brutally bad and now the Penguins are going to play in an emotional game on the road and then have to travel up to Canada Saturday night for a game against Montreal, which is never easy.
Something interesting that is going on right now might not seem significant to most but is really starting to become a head scratcher, and that is down at the third defensive pairing. Right now it looks as if the Penguins have been rolling with Robert Bortuzzo and Deryk Engelland and that is leaving Simon Despres up in the box and I am not really sure how I feel about that and the more I think about it the more I don't like it. This season Despres has made his fair share of mistakes but he has also looked really good in spots, which is what you expect out of a rookie, but I think I would like to see him come back in the lineup and play with Bortuzzo and see Engelland get some time up in the box. Now, I don't think Engelland has been as bad as some do but he hasn't been playing well enough to where I think she should be unable to be a healthy scratch.
Other than that Marc-Andre Fleury is back in net for the Penguins. He was supposed to get the day off on Tuesday but had to come on and play about half the game thanks to Tomas Vokoun vomiting all over himself in the crease in the loss. Good times guys.
Pittsburgh (13-7-0) (via Penguins Website)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - James Neal
Beau Bennett - Brandon Sutter - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Dustin Jeffrey - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Kris Letang
Deryk Engelland - Robert Bortuzzo
Carolina (9-8-1) (via DailyFaceoff)
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alexander Semin
Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Chad LaRose
Jussi Jokinen - Riley Nash - Pat Dwyer
Drayson Bowman - Tim Brent - Tim Wallace
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Joe Corvo - Jamie McBain
Tim Gleason - Bobby Sanguinetti
The Last Time They Met:
January 17, 2012 - Pittsburgh 2, Carolina 1 (SO)