UPDATE: Fedotenko to play and Godard and Boucher will be healthy scratches.
With only five regular season games to go, two of which are at home, the Pittsburgh Penguins look to keep up the consistency as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at the RCB Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. This power surge has spiked the Pens to 5th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Hopes of passing the Philadelphia Flyers are very much alive. The Flyers had lost two straight games, and beat Toronto on the road to keep the 4th spot. But with a win tonight and a Flyers loss in Ottawa, will give the Pens a tie for 4th place.
The discussion of the team’s momentum has been positive lately, and there is more than just one contributor. New interim head Coach Dan Bylsma from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was thought to be a shaky leader at the NHL level, but has proved many wrong. He has coached a total of 20 games, with a respectable 15-2-3 record and 33 points. The Penguins are now playoff bound instead of clawing desperately for another shot at the Cup.
Of course, the coaching change was huge, but the return of the power play king Sergei Gonchar, and new additions Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin have also helped kick start the Penguins. Kunitz, playing left wing along side Sidney Crosby, has an exceptional 50 points this season; 15 with the Penguins in 15 games. Despite the -15 rating he had with the New York Islanders, Bill Guerin is lighting up the right wing with 11 points in 12 games with the Pens.
On April 2, the Penguins held an optional practice at Southpointe. A total of 10 players attended, and amongst them were 7 forwards, 2 defensemen and back up goalie Mathieu Garon. Line leaders Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, and Max Talbot worked with wingers Eric Godard, Tyler Kennedy, Pascal Dupuis, and Craig Adams.
Injury Report: Philippe Boucher and Craig Adams are skating with the team during practices and could see some ice time in the playoffs. Mike Zigomanis is skating consistently and should return to the lineup next week; just in time for the playoffs. Ruslan Fedotenko was injured on Wednesday and did not play the 3rd period. His status is undecided for Saturday.
Quick Facts: On Wednesday night’s 6-1 win against the New Jersey Devils, the Penguins had six different goal scorers, and all were forwards. Hal Gill was on the ice for all four of Pittsburgh's even-strength scores and landed 2 points and plus 4 rating. Thirteen players tallied a point against New Jersey.
Penguins Quote of the Day: "This dream is gonna last forever, don’t you dare wake me up!” -Jim Paek after winning the Stanley Cup in 1991."
by Kaitlin Kennedy
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