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Penguins vs. Hurricanes Scouting Report

Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 10:00 AM ET / Features
By Justin Criado
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Penguins vs. Hurricanes Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 5-1-1-11
Road: 5-2-2-12

WHEN: Nov. 12, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: RBC Center
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Carolina Hurricanes
Home: 3-3-1-7

  Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes 






Jeff Skinner
C  -  #53
  6 Goals
  8 Assists
  14 Points
• Was the youngest player in the NHL last year at 18-years-old, where he won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie with 31 goals and 32 assists in 82 games and was named to the NHL All-Star Team – becoming the youngest player ever to earn such an honor.

• Has netted two game-winning goals already for the Hurricanes this season, Oct. 14 at Buffalo and Nov. 1 vs. Tampa Bay – matching his two game-winning tallies from a year ago.

• Labeled as a natural goal scorer coming out of juniors, Skinner has used his small but compact frame (5-foot-10, 187 pounds) and speed to create scoring chances all over the ice by crashing the net and working the walls.
Jussi Jokinen
LW  -  #36
  3 Goals
  6 Assists
  9 Points
• Had a career year in 2009-10 after being acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade midway through the previous season with 30 goals and 65 points (30 G, 35 A) followed by 52 points (19G-33A) in 70 games in 2010 – he was rewarded with a three-year contract worth $9 million on June 30.

• Returned to the lineup Friday against the Rangers after missing three games with a lower body injury, which was good news for the ‘Canes as Jokinen has scored in eight of the 13 games he’s played in.

• Has played well against Pittsburgh – in four games against the Penguins last year, Jokinen registered six points (3G-3A) to lead all Carolina players.
Brandon Sutter
C  -  #16
  4 Goals
  2 Assists
6 Points
• After signing a three-year $6.2 million contract July 13, the 22-year-old Sutter was named an alternate captain.

• Gritty forward led all Hurricane forwards and tied for seventh in the league with 73 blocked shots in 2010-11 and currently paces Carolina with two shorthanded goals.

Carolina’s first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2007 NHL Draft, President and General Manager Jim Rutherford described Sutter as one of the “cornerstones” of the franchise moving forward.
After a disappointing 2010-11 campaign in which the Carolina Hurricanes finished 40-31-11 and third in the Southeast Division, the Hurricanes have stumbled out of the gate with a 5-8-3 record – including their current four-game losing streak.

Streaky has been the term that best describes Carolina’s play thus far as they started the season with three-consecutive defeats, including a 4-3 overtime loss to Southeast Division opponent Washington Oct. 8. But just as it seemed that Carolina was figuring it out with a three-game winning streak from Oct. 12-18 – which included a pair of wins over defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston – they again fell into a three-game losing streak starting Oct. 21, recording losses to bottom dwellers St. Louis, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Captain Eric Staal has struggled through the first 16 games of the season with a league-worst minus-16 rating and just five points (3G-2A). But the continued success of 19-year-old center Jeff Skinner is a bright spot for the Hurricanes, as last season’s Calder Trophy winner as the league’s top rookie leads Carolina with 14 points (6G-8A) – including game-winning tallies versus Buffalo Oct. 14 and Tampa Bay Nov. 1.

Manning the crease for the ‘Canes has been Cam Ward. Ward, who earned the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2006 as he led Carolina to the Stanley Cup, is off to a less-than-stellar start with a 5-5-2 record and 3.06 goals-against average. With Saturday being the second of back-to-back games for the Hurricanes, don’t be surprised if veteran Brian Boucher is between the pipes against the Penguins as Ward was in goal for their Friday night loss vs. NY Rangers. Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice alluded to giving Boucher the nod in one of those two games.

Maurice is in his second stint behind the Carolina bench as he was most recently named head coach on Dec. 3, 2008, inheriting a team that was 12-11-2. Since taking over that year Maurice has led the Hurricanes to a 113-91-29 record, including a playoff berth in 2009. However, Carolina has been out of the postseason the last two seasons.

The Hurricanes are in the midst of a four-game stretch against the Atlantic Division, opened on Tuesday with a 3-2 loss to New Jersey. They fell 5-1 to the New York Rangers Friday and will play the Philadelphia Flyers Nov. 14 in addition to Saturday vs. Pittsburgh. Carolina is 0-4 against the Atlantic Division so far this year, with their other losses being another defeat to the Devils on Oct. 10 and a 5-1 blowout Oct. 29 at Philadelphia.
  • The Penguins enter tonight’s game with a league-leading 23 points.
  • They also enter the contest with a perfect 5-0-2 record against the Western Conference this season.
  • Dating back to a 2-1 overtime win against Los Angeles on Feb. 10 of last season, the Penguins are unbeaten in their last 13 games against Western Conference teams (9-0-4). Pittsburgh’s last regulation loss to a team from the West was a 4-1 setback against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 8, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center.
  • The Penguins enter tonight's game with a 5-2-2 road record. Their 12 road points are tied with the Florida Panthers for the most in the Eastern Conference. Dating back to a 6-5 shootout win at Toronto on Feb. 26 of last season the Penguins have gone 13-3-4 in their last 20 road games. During that stretch 11 of the 20 games have gone to overtime/shootout, with the Penguins going 7-4 in those games.
  • The Penguins finished with a winning record against the Hurricanes last season (3-1) for the second time in the last three seasons (2-1-1 in '08-09). Pittsburgh is 6-3-3 against Carolina over the past three seasons, including a 3-1-2 mark at the RBC Center.
  • After tallying a team-best (tied) 11 points (9G-2A) through the month of October, Neal has continued to stay hot with five points (2G-3A) in his first three games in November. Neal, who enters Saturday's game with a five-game point streak, leads Pittsburgh with 16 points (11G-5A) and ranks second in the NHL with 11 goals. Neal has been extremely consistent with his point production, tallying at least one point in 13 of the team’s 16 games.
  • Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has 12 goals and 27 points in 20 career games against the Hurricanes. He has four goals this season -- all on the road.




2010-11 STAT CHART

F Sidney Crosby, concussion
F Tyler Kennedy, concussion
D Ben Lovejoy, broken wrist
D Zbynek Michalek, broken finger
D Brian Strait, hyper-extended elbow
Neal (10) Skinner (6)
Letang (13) Skinner (8)
Neal (16)
Skinner (14)
Engelland (16) Harrison (19)
Three with (4) Jokinen (3)
Neal (5) Staal (3)
Three with (1)
Sutter (2)
Fleury (9-2-1)
Ward (5-6-2)
Fleury (1.87) Ward (3.04)
Fleury (.932) Ward (.909)






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Author: Justin Criado
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