Series (Game 2 of 4)

Carolina leads 3-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 14th
Game 2: Monday, December 7th
Game 3: Thursday, March 11th
Game 4: Saturday, March 20th

Hurricanes 3

(7-17-5, 19 pts)

Penguins 2

(20-10-1, 41 pts)

7:30 PM ET, December 7, 2009

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
CAR 2 1 03
PIT 0 2 02

R. Whitney (Hurricanes - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

E. Staal (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

S. Crosby (Penguins - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Hurricanes-Penguins Preview


All it took was one game for the Pittsburgh Penguins to miss Sidney Crosby.

The star center, though, is expected back in the lineup Monday night when the Penguins look for their ninth win in 12 games as they face the NHL-worst Carolina Hurricanes, who are trying to avoid extending their record for road futility.

Crosby participated in Monday morning's skate after missing Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to Central Division-leading Chicago and is planning to play in this game. He had been on a tear prior to the injury with seven goals and four assists in his last three games, and 10 goals and 10 in assists in his previous 11 after a five-game pointless streak.

On Saturday, Marc-Andre Fleury gave up a goal to Kris Versteeg 2:38 into the extra session after Jordan Staal helped the Penguins (20-9-1) gain a point by tying the game at 1 with 1:32 to play in regulation.

"It was a big game for both teams to prove themselves," said Staal, who has goals in consecutive games. "Us coming into this game, we wanted to prove we could play with this team. We heard a lot about them and wanted to show them our best."

Crosby has five goals and 12 assists in 15 career games against Carolina (6-17-5), but was held without a point in a 3-2 shootout win at Raleigh on Oct. 14, as Chris Kunitz scored the winner in the sixth round of the tiebreaker.

Pittsburgh is 8-2-1 in its last 11 games to grab a two-point lead atop the Atlantic Division.

The Penguins swept the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals last spring en route to their third Stanley Cup title and will try to take advantage of the league's worst team again.

Carolina has set a dubious team mark by losing its first 13 road games. The last club to open with 14 consecutive winless games was Columbus, which went 0-11-2 with a tie to start 2003-04.

The Hurricanes, losers of four of five at Mellon Arena, beat Vancouver 5-3 on Saturday to snap a five-game slide heading into a four-game trip.

"It's huge, especially weathering the storm in the third period," said Manny Legace, who made 14 of his 33 saves in the final 20 minutes. "The last couple of games we've kind of shut her down in the third and teams have taken advantage of us."

The Hurricanes could use some consistency from Erik Cole, who is looking to build on a hat trick Saturday. That performance matched the left wing's scoring output over his first 17 games.

"I think he has been skating much better," coach Paul Maurice said. "When he skates like that he's a handful, and it opens up the ice for everybody."

Legace is 3-0-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average in three career starts versus Pittsburgh, but this would be his first start against the Penguins as a member of the Hurricanes.