Carolina Hurricanes (32-32-10) at Pittsburgh Penguins (48-22-5)
|Date & Time||Tuesday April 1, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -205 / Carolina Hurricanes +186 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Hurricanes head into Pittsburgh looking to play spoiler a night after losing a heartbreaker in Ottawa against the Senators.
It is no secret that the Hurricanes have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this season but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been playing with a ton of heart and that was evident again last night in Ottawa. Carolina forced extra time against the playoff aspiring Senators and while they ultimately lost the second point and the game they showed a lot of tenacity and fight. The Canes have to be happy with the way Jeff Skinner has played as he eclipsed the 30-goal mark again in last night’s loss and the young winger is really asserting himself as one of the game’s best young talents. Cam Ward rebounded nicely as well in what has been a frustrating season for him as he lost the starter’s job and has continued his ongoing battle with a number of injuries. The Canes head into Pittsburgh looking to win one for former Penguins forward Jordan Staal in what should be another chill reception for the penalty killing specialist. Anton Khudobin is expected to get the start against Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins were in the midst of their sloppiest play of the season but quickly put an end to any speculation that they have lost their edge as they waxed the Chicago Blackhawks in their last outing by a 4-1 final. The Pens are still without two of their best defensemen in Kris Letang and Paul Martin and while it looks as though both will be ready to go come playoff time it has been a tough stretch in the defensive zone for the Pens over their last couple of weeks. Luckily, the Penguins have one of the most potent and dangerous offenses in the league and Sidney Crosby is in a league of his own at the moment as he leads the league in points and recorded his 35th and 36th goals of the season against the Hawks. While the Pens still have a ton to play for and the Canes are just playing out the string I think this game is closer than people expect especially considering the context. Jordan Staal will be playing his best hockey of the season and Khudobin will look to prove he is worthy of being a number one and a win over the high octane Penguins would go a long way in doing so. I am taking a shot here with Carolina.