NHL Pre-Game Notes: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes

By Stephanie Lewark
Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins (13-7-0, 26 points) and the Carolina Hurricanes (9-8-1, 19 points) will be televised locally on ROOT Sports – Pittsburgh and nationally on the NHL Network (US). Face off is set for 7:00 pm (est) at the PNC Center.

The big story will be seeing Jordan Staal on the ice again for the first time wearing the opposing team’s colors.  Staal spent six seasons with the Penguins from the very start of his professional hockey career and he was pivotal in a lot of great moments including being part of the 2009 Stanley Cup Championship team. 

The projected line combinations based on this morning’s skate are as follows:

POWER PLAY UNITS: First unit consists of Kris LetangPaul Martin, James NealChris KunitzSidney Crosby and the second unit was made up of (based on practice the other day) Matt NiskanenDustin Jeffrey/Simon Despres, Beau BennettBrandon SutterTyler Kennedy;

FORWARDS: Kunitz-Crosby-Neal, Bennett-Sutter-Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke-Jeffrey-Kennedy, Tanner GlassJoe VitaleCraig Adams (Zach Boychuk);

DEFENSEMEN: Brooks Orpik-Martin, Niskanen-Letang, Deryk EngellandRobert Bortuzzo, Mark Eaton-Despres. The projected starting goalie in net for the Penguins tonight is Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Hurricanes will be without a number of players due to injury tonight: forwards Tim Brent (lower body injury), Tuomo Ruutu (recovering from hip surgery) and Jeff Skinner (concussion); defensemen Tim Gleason (lower body injury), Jamie McBain (upper body injury) and Joni Pitkanen (lower body injury). Cam Ward is the projected starting net minder for Florida tonight.

It’s reported that Jeff Skinner, Tim Brent, Tim Gleason and Jamie McBain will all return to the Hurricanes’ lineup tonight against the Penguins.

Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her Facebook page, or add her to your Google+ circle.

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