Saturday, December 03, 2011

Game #27 - at Carolina Hurricanes

2011-12 Game 27

Pittsburgh Penguins (15-7-4, 34 points) at Carolina Hurricanes (8-15-4, 20 points)
Want an autographed Vitale rookie card?  It would set you back less than $5.00 right now.
Why does it matter?

Another game, another new coach.  The Pens will be trying to avenge an earlier loss to the Hurricanes (5-3 on November 12th).  It's the last game of a four game road trip, and there could be a letdown after an emotional win over the Caps in Washington on Thursday.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - A win tonight would make this a successful road trip, with 6 points in 4 games.
  • Hurricanes - The change in coaches hasn't led to a change in results - the Canes are 0-2 under Kirk Muller.
Questions to be answered
  • Will the Pens avoid the early deficit?  The Washington game was a welcome change, but they've been getting behind early in games for a while now.  The last game against the Canes was 3-0 going into the third.
  • How will Bortuzzo and Despres hold up for a second straight game given that Michalek and Letang are both out again?  An extended absence for these guys will have to catch up with the Pens eventually, especially on special teams.
  • Is Matt Cooke okay?  He seemed like it, but I'm more interested in how he'll respond to cheap hits - will he be able to keep his cool as well as he has so far this season?
Keys to the game
  • Avoid the slow start.  After the high intensity win over the Caps, it might be difficult to get things going.
  • Score on the power play.  The Canes don't take many penalties, but they've allowed power play goals in three straight games.
  • Get traffic and crash the net.  Cam Ward always seems to play well against the Pens.

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