(SportsNetwork.com) – The milestones keep coming for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Metropolitan co-leaders next try to give their general manager what could
be an emotional victory on Friday night when the Pens open a home-and-home
series with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Pittsburgh has won back-to-back games in overtime, with a pair of franchise
players hitting career marks in each game.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury reached 300 career wins in Monday’s triumph in
Boston, while captain Sidney Crosby recorded the 800th point of his career in
Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Crosby had two assists in the game, the last coming on Blake Comeau’s winner
2:53 into overtime. The goal was Comeau’s third of the game and eighth of the
season. He had just five goals in 61 games with Columbus last season.
“I’m getting an opportunity to play with some really good players and it feels
good to contribute,” Comeau said.
Crosby joined Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr as the only players in Penguins
history to reach 800 points and Crosby, who leads the NHL with 31 points,
became the sixth-fastest player in league history to reach the mark. He did so
in 571 career games, trailing only Wayne Gretzky, Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Peter
Stastny and Jari Kurri.
Fleury made 24 saves in the win that moved the Penguins to 12-2-1 in their
last 15 games, while Evgeni Malkin ended with a goal and two assists. Malkin
has posted five goals and six assists over a six-game point streak while
scoring a goal in three straight.
The Penguins are 5-0-1 in their last six games at home and have won 10 of
their past 14 against the Hurricanes as the hosting team.
General manager Jim Rutherford knows that all too well as he served as the GM
of the Hurricanes franchise from 1994-2014 before joining Pittsburgh this past
During his tenure with Carolina, Rutherford’s teams made a Cup Finals
appearance in 2002 and then won the Stanley Cup in 2006.
Rutherford will look for his current Penguins squad to get a win tonight ahead
of Saturday’s return to Carolina that completes a home-and-home set.
“I haven’t thought about the games. I intensely try to block it out because it
will be emotional for me,” Rutherford told Pittsburgh’s website of the series.
“I think about Carolina a lot. I have a connection to a lot of those players
and people that are still there. I was there a long time. I was treated well
by Pete (Karmanos), the owner, the players, the management, the fans. I
enjoyed it there for a long time.”
The Hurricanes, who have lost eight of their last 10 overall versus the
Penguins, will try to avoid a third straight setback tonight. They have lost
each game of their current skid by one goal, including Wednesday’s 1-0 setback
Cam Ward gave up a goal 21 seconds into the game and made 27 saves, but got no
offensive support in Carolina’s sixth loss in seven games.
The Hurricanes had 17 of their 33 shots in the third period, but went 0-for-3
on the power play.
“We had more than enough chances to get one, maybe two (goals), but couldn’t
execute,” Hurricanes center Jeff Skinner said.
Carolina dropped to 2-9-2 as the road club this season and concludes a five-
game trip tonight. The ‘Canes play the first of five in a row at home when
they play the Pens on Saturday.