Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Game #45 - vs Carolina Hurricanes

2011-12 Game 45

Carolina Hurricanes (16-24-7, 39 points) at Pittsburgh Penguins (23-17-4, 48 points)

Every time I see Jeff Skinner it makes me think of Hot Fuzz... "Mr Skinner" (it's a great movie, btw)

Why does it matter?

The Pens need to keep their winning streak going against a weaker team.  They don't get much worse than Carolina this season, even though the Canes did beat Boston on Saturday.  This is the final regular season meeting between these two teams this season.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Two straight wins in Florida may have the team turned around.
  • Hurricanes - They won two in a row and then lost a tight one in Washington on Sunday.
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens find a way to beat a hot goalie?  This seems to be a weak point this year, and Cam Ward is playing really well right now.
  • Will the Pens rev up the shot engine again?  Remember the last meeting with the Canes?  The Pens fired 52 shots!
  • Which power play will we see?  The one that looked strong against Tampa or the one that hadn't scored  in the previous five games?  The PK for the Canes is inconsistent.  They haven't allowed a goal in their past four games, but they allowed four against Nashville.
Keys to the game
  • Focus on the big guns.  Staal is playing better, and Skinner and Ruutu have had success against the Pens this year.
  • Play 60 minutes.  Giving up three goals in five minutes in the third is attributable to a lack of focus.
  • Keep the top line going.  Kunitz, Neal and Malkin are playing better than any line I can recall in recent history for the Pens.

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