|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 5, 2019
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Attendance: 18,435
Penguins hope whirlwind over as they meet Hurricanes
Carolina Hurricanes at Pittsburgh Penguins
- The Penguins have won 10 of the last 12 games in the series, including the last three by a combined 12-2 score. The Hurricanes' two wins in the last 12 meetings with Pittsburgh came six days apart in December 2017 and January 2018.
- The 'Canes are 10-4-1 since December 31, tied for the second-most wins in the league in that span. Only Calgary (23) and the New York Islanders (22) have more points that Carolina's 21 since the final day of 2018.
- After winning eight consecutive games and allowing only nine goals between December 19 and January 4, the Penguins are 5-6-0 in their last 11 games, allowing 43 goals (3.91 per game). The team's .879 save percentage since January 6 is the fifth lowest in the league.
- In the 2019 portion of this season, Sebastian Aho leads all Eastern Conference skaters with 21 points; Teuvo Teravainen is tied for third with 16. With 60 points in 2018-19, Aho has become the first Hurricane since Eric Staal (2007-08 through 2011-12) to register consecutive 60-point seasons.
- Three skaters in the league have 50 or more points and a plus-minus of minus-10 or worse, and two of them are Penguins -- Evgeni Malkin (55 points, minus-18) and Phil Kessel (57 points, minus-12). Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau is only non-Penguin with those numbers (50 points, minus-23).
- Since January 1, Carolina and Pittsburgh are the top scoring teams in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes lead the conference with an average of 3.86 goals per game (54 in 14 games), just ahead of Pittsburgh's 3.85 (13 games, 50 goals).
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The Pittsburgh Penguins got a breather Sunday after a whirlwind 48 hours to start the weekend. They jump back into things Tuesday when the resurgent Carolina Hurricanes visit PPG Paints Arena.
Pittsburgh, tied for second in the tight Metropolitan Division, split back-to-back games with a 5-3 win Friday at home against Ottawa and a 3-2 loss Saturday at Toronto. That's a busy enough schedule, but there was so much more going on.
Friday morning, the Penguins completed a trade with Florida for forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann, sending forwards Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan plus draft picks in exchange. Bjugstad and McCann rushed to get to Pittsburgh, taking a private jet and using a police escort to get to the arena 15 minutes before puck drop and to the bench for the national anthem.
"Sometimes you play your best hockey when you're just on adrenaline and you let your instincts take over," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.
"As they get the opportunity to be with us longer, we'll start to add some more of the details."
After the game, the team, with its revamped group of forwards, hopped a flight to Toronto.
"It was a crazy experience. I think we had a little more to give, obviously," said Bjugstad, whose assist Friday was the only point by either newcomer in the two games. "I'm sure we'll sort it out here."
A different type of Penguins newcomer, forward Teddy Blueger, scored in each of the weekend games while playing in his second and third NHL games after being recalled from the American Hockey League last week.
"He's scored a couple goals, but he's (also) been a smart player," Sullivan said of Blueger.
The Penguins, who did not hold a morning skate Saturday or a practice Sunday, finally got a chance to practice with the new players Monday.
The Penguins, however, still are without defenseman Justin Schultz, who has been out since mid-October because of a broken leg but practiced in a full-contact capacity Tuesday.
Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin also appears likely to miss Tuesday's game. He missed both weekend games - another part of the tumultuous 48 hours -- because of a reported hand injury and skated separately from practice Tuesday.
The Hurricanes had a four-game point streak before falling Sunday to Calgary 4-3 but still have won 10 of their past 15 games to move to within three points of a playoff spot. They are six points behind Pittsburgh.
Getting within sniffing distance of a wild-card spot has Carolina getting itchy every time it loses.
"We know where we are in the standings. We want to win every game, get as many points as we can and try to get in the playoffs. It sucks when we lose," defenseman Dougie Hamilton said.
"We'll just go to the next game and try to win that."
The Hurricanes' game Tuesday kicks off a season-long five-stop, nine-day road trip that also goes through Buffalo, New York (Rangers), New Jersey and Ottawa.
"It's a tough road trip, obviously, but we're just looking at the next game," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's going to be a grind for us."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 4, 2019