Carolina at Pittsburgh
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, April 27, 2013
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to avoid heading into the playoffs with their first three-game losing streak of the campaign when they host the Carolina Hurricanes in the regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday. Pittsburgh, which has been riddled with injuries, has dropped decisions against the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils - two teams who won't be participating in the postseason. The Penguins hope to avoid any additional injuries as they await the identity of their first-round opponent.
Carolina has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season but enters its final contest riding a three-game point streak (2-0-1). The Hurricanes have played slightly better on the road than at home, going 10-10-3 as opposed to a 9-14-1 mark at PNC Arena. They halted an 0-4-1 road skid by posting a 3-2 victory over the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Sunday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN (Carolina), ROOT Sports (Pittsburgh)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (19-24-4): Carolina is likely to have a trio of Staals in the lineup for the second straight game. Right wing Jared Staal was recalled from the American Hockey League and started Thursday's contest against the New York Rangers on a line with brothers Eric and Jordan. The Staals became the 10th trio of brothers to play for the same team in one of the four major sports leagues in North America. "That's something they're going to remember the rest of their lives," coach Kirk Muller said. "We're in the NHL, but we've got to remember it's just a game sometimes. It's about living in the moment."
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (35-12-0): Pittsburgh fans have an extra reason to be excited for the playoffs to arrive as Sidney Crosby practiced with the team for the first time in nearly a month on Friday. The captain will not play against Carolina but is hoping to be cleared for the postseason opener. "It's not really up to me," said Crosby, who has missed 11 games with a broken jaw. "I'll just keep talking with the doctors. It's something they have to feel comfortable with the healing. As soon as they say the word, I'll be ready to go."
1. Penguins D Paul Martin (hand) and LW James Neal (concussion) will be back in the lineup Saturday. Martin has missed 12 games while Neal has sat out eight contests.
2. Hurricanes captain Eric Staal was nominated by his teammates for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.
3. The home team has won seven of the last nine games in the all-time series.
PREDICTION: Penguins 5, Hurricanes 2
Stats and Records