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Insider Only Crosby expects uptempo, physical game; Staal discusses Penguins chances of returning to the finals

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The Carolina Hurricanes (93 points) and Pittsburgh Penguins (92 points) are separated by one point in the playoff standings and tonight is a crucial game for both teams fighting for playoff positioning. Carolina is on a seven game winning streak and have won 10 straight home games.
Tonight’s game is between the conference’s hottest teams as the Hurricanes are 11-2-1 in their last 14 games, and the Penguins are 13-2-1 in their last 16 games.
Following the Penguins morning skate, Sidney Crosby talked about how the teams focus is on the winning and how he expects a physical game while Jordan Staal discussed the Penguins chances of reaching the Finals again.
Read more for the latest pregame report

Sidney Crosby on tonight’s matchup
“It should definitely be a skating game. Both teams like to get up the ice pretty quickly and spend as less time in their own zone as possible. That’s fun hockey. It’s physical, it’s quick and it’s fun hockey.”
Crosby and the Penguins looked very focused in today’s morning skate. They went through a 40 minute workout and as always ended with the team working on the power play.
Since the additions of Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin, Crosby seems much more relaxed around the locker room. He was really frustrated at mid-season as he puts a ton of pressure on himself.
Staal has sights on long playoff run
Jordan Staal was hounded with questions about playing against his brother from the Carolina media but he was asking an interesting question about whether there is a similar feeling in the locker room that the Penguins had last spring when they went to the Stanley Cup finals.
“Much the same,” Jordan said. “I think everyone has that feeling if we keep going this way and make the playoffs, we have a great chance to go far again. “I’m sure every team that makes the playoffs feels the same way, so that’s what is so exciting about it.”
Home Ice Advantage?
The Hurricanes come into tonight’s game on a 10 game home winning streak and are 24-13-1 at home on the season. The Hurricanes are expecting a sold out crowd and there is already fans outside tailgating on a beautiful sunny 70 degree day. The fans are excited about tonight’s matchup and the building will have a playoff atmosphere.
Lineup News
Kunitz – Crosby – Guerin
Cooke – Malkin – Sykora
Fedotenko – Staal – Kennedy
Dupuis – Talbot – Adams
Defensemen
Orpik – Gonchar
Gill – Scuderi
Eaton – Letang
Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal
Notes: The Penguins will go with the same lineup that they used on Wednesday. Scratches will be Philippe Boucher and Eric Godard.
Ruslan Fedotenko skated for the second consecutive day and his shoulder injury is something he will be able to play with. Still has some discomfort but he’s fine.
Sykora slumping:
Winger Petr Sykora has 0 points in 6 games and has only four points in his last 21 games.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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