Game preview: 20.02.22 vs CAR


The Penguins return home and kick off a three-game home game with the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. Arena doors for fans will open at 11:30 a.m. and a pre-game ceremony will be held to celebrate Sidney Crosby’s 500th career goal. Pittsburgh faces Carolina for the first time since March 8, 2020 – nearly two calendar years. The Penguins are 4-2-1 in their last seven games against the Hurricanes. Going back further, Pittsburgh is 11-4-1 in its last 16 games against Carolina since Jan. 17, 2016. Pittsburgh is 6-3-0 in its last nine home games against Carolina. Since head coach Mike Sullivan joined Pittsburgh, the Penguins have the second best goal differential (tied) against the Hurricanes (+14 in 18 games) in the NHL. Tonight’s game begins a four-game streak against divisional opponents.


Tonight’s game is the first of three games against the top two teams in the Metropolitan Division, and with both teams tied for first place (70 points each), these games will be key in deciding who could win the title of division. Since Dec. 4, 2021, Pittsburgh (21-4-3, 45 points – 2nd in the NHL) and Carolina (18-5-3, 39 points – 4th in the NHL) have combined to lose just nine games in time regulation and were two of the best teams in the league. Pittsburgh and Carolina will play their three regular season games against each other over the next 22 days (Feb. 20, Feb. 27, March 13).


Bryan RustThe 1.57 points per game average at home (14GP, 11G-11A) ranks fourth in the NHL and trails only Kirill Kaprizov (1.75), Max Pacioretty (1.70) and Jonathan Huberdeau (1.65 ).

Yevgeny Malkin has 39 points (14G-25A) in 39 career games against the Carolina Hurricanes, who are tied for eighth among all active players.

Assistant coach Mike Vellucci will face his old organization tonight for the first time since joining the Penguins. Vellucci spent five seasons as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations for Carolina from 2014 to 2019. During the 2017-19 seasons, Vellucci also served as the head coach of the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), leading the Checkers to a Calder Cup championship in 2018-19.

Pittsburgh has points in 12 of its last 13 home games (9-1-3).

Since the start of the 2017-18 season, no NHL defenseman has scored more goals against the Metropolitan Division than Kris Letang (20).


Video: Crosby speaks to the media


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