So here’s the stat-line for Carolina’s goaltenders, one is a young franchise goalie that already has a Stanley Cup trophy under his belt in Cam Ward and the other is journeyman Mike Leighton:
1-1-1, 3.29 GAA and a .892 save %
2-0, 1.93 GAA and a .935 save %
So you know the trick is in, Leighton is the statistically superior goaltender this early into the season and will get the start tonight. Also, due to injuries it looks like the Canes will dress seven defensemen which means our old friend Josef Melichar will be back in the NHL for the first time since his Penguin days.
This is also the Pens last chance for some home cooking before departing to New York and then out west for three games. The next time a game will be in Mellon Arena (November 8th) will be after a President is elected. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s probably a train.
Carolina player to watch:
Something to keep an eye on is the Hurricanes haven’t really had a “go to” player. Sure, Eric Staal is the man there, but through five games ten (10) or more players have at least three points. Contrast that with your Penguins who have played two more games than Carolina, but only have half the number of players with at least three points. So even if E. Staal is limited, that doesn’t mean the third line might have one of those nights where they put a couple past the Penguins before we know it. And with perhaps a rusty Darryl Sydor back in the lineup they may just do that.
Penguins player to watch:
Jordan Staal –did you know he has a brother in this game? If not, the television people will let you know this any number of times. Anyways the 3rd of the Staal boys has had a rough season so far (he’s one of the Pens under three points) and hasn’t quite emerged from the sophomore slump yet. Also rumor has it if he doesn’t show something tonight the boys at the Pensblog are gonna put the Amber Alert up on his ass. Which, would he know what that means around the interwebs, well it would be all the motivation needed to break out. History doesn’t suggest Jordan will fare well, in 8 NHL games against brother Eric, J-Staal has 0 goals and 2 assists. Maybe, like a certain “other sibling” tonight will be his night to step up and outshine big bro.