Carolina Hurricanes (19-24-4) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (35-12-0)
ROOT, FS-CR – 7:30 pm/et
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
The last game of the regular season. You can almost taste the playoffs. Jordan Staal returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since his trade. Jokinen and Sutter are also facing their old team.
There will be approximately 203 Staals in the Carolina line-up today. It's been a pretty bad season for both Staal and the Hurricanes.
For Pittsburgh, Paul Martin and James Neal will be in the line-up. It's also "Shirts off our Backs" night.
After the break, a bunch of Jordan Staal videos because we're emotional like that.
Season Series: 1-1-0
Last meeting that counted: April 9, 2013. Penguins won 5-3.
What we said in our recap:
This was an ordinary game through two periods. Pens were playing like they typically do in Carolina. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are surprisingly awful this season.
But when the time came for two points to be deposited into the bank, the Pens wrote the check and cashed it in. With a top-2 seed already locked up, these remaining 8 games will be all about arranging the chairs and tables before the party comes. It's imperative that all the lines start to gel while everyone remains healthy.
Know Your Enemy: Canes Country
What they're saying:
Well, this is it! The conclusion to the 2013 NHL season. The Hurricanes at one point this season were sitting in 1st place in the Southeast Division, but injuries, poor play and some bad puck luck took them out of Playoff contention. They finish up with the top team in the Eastern Conference, who has experienced their share of injuries too, but they have been able to weather the storm and are looking to get some players back. This will be the third game this year between Pittsburgh and Carolina, so far they have split the two decisions in Raleigh.
The Canes enter the game with points in the last three games, the latest a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers. It was a good game between the two teams and Carolina probably deserved better than the OT loss, but a late 3rd period kick in by Dan Ellis tied the game and the one and only shot by the Rangers in overtime found it's way to the back of the net. Carolina currently sits in 25th place in the NHL, good for the #6 overall pick in the NHL Draft (not counting the lottery results). With a win, that pick could move to 7th overall, with a regulation loss it will be somewhere between 3rd and 5th (again, not counting the lottery results). So this game does have some meaning for the Canes.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
Orpik – Letang
Carolina Hurricanes Lines:
Tlusty – E.Staal – LaRose
Faulk – Gleason
Lines via Daily Faceoff.