Friday, February 25, 2011

Game #63 - at Carolina Hurricanes

Game 63
Penguins (36-20-6, 78 points) at Hurricanes (28-24-9, 65 points)

Why does it matter?
Another game, another new forward. This one marks the return of Alexei Kovalev to the Penguins. I, for one, am very excited to see how he fits in.

As for the game itself, the Canes are in the eighth and final playoff spot, but they need wins because Buffalo has enough games-in-hand to knock them out of the playoffs.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - More hard work against the Sharks, along with a point well earned. This team is going to be scary when Sid comes back.
  • Hurricanes - The month of February has not been kind to the Canes, with losses in 8 out of 11 games. That's not the way to get into the playoffs.
Questions to be answered
  • How will Kovalev fit into the system? Will he be willing to put in the work that Bylsma is going to require?
  • Tonight will feature the return of Dustin Jeffrey as well. Remember when he was in Wilkes-Barre because there was no room for him here in Pittsburgh?
  • Can the power play get things going with Kovalev on one of the points? He's certainly capable of playing there, and he has a great shot.
Keys to the game
  • Stop Cory Stillman. Seriously. Stillman has 33 points in his last 21 games against the Pens.
  • Keep on chugging. The effort has been there, even if the results haven't. Keep the groove going and the results will come as players start to return from injury.
  • Play it safe on defense - without Orpik and Martin, the Pens are weakened on the blue line. Be careful when jumping into the play, especially with two new forwards on the ice in Kovy and Neal.

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