Who’s ready to get extremely hammered on a weekday? If you’re not, don’t play the Staal drinking game. Especially not in this one because this year’s version has an extra twist. If you don’t know the rules, when Jordan Staal was a Penguin, the rule was that you drank any time that it was mentioned that he and Eric Staal are brothers. Now it’s going to get really fun. Jordan Staal was traded to the Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter as we all know. Well…Brandon’s brother Brent Sutter now plays for the Hurricanes.
Since Steigy and Errey will likely be making your ears bleed about the ancestry of most of the players on the ice for two and a half hours, let me tell you the things about the game that you actually might care about.
The Penguins get to start their season with their third straight inferior opponent. The Hurricanes aren’t considered to be very good. Most experts picked them to be in a battle with the Devils and the Flyers for the worst record in the Metropolitan division. And with the way the Penguins have come out firing on all cylinders, that’s bad news for the Canes.
The story for the Pens to this point has been the play of the goaltending and defense which was the biggest concern coming into the year. Kris Letang is still out of the lineup. However, he started skating so hopefully that means his return is imminent. But his replacements have done a stellar job. Marc-Andre Fleury will get a bit more of a test against the Hurricanes than he did against the Sabres and Devils. Carolina has netted two goals in each of their first two games.
Right now it’s the second line carrying the offense for the Canes. Jeff Skinner leads the team with three assists. Meanwhile, the top line of Eric Staal, Alex Semin, and Jiri Tlusty have yet to produce a point.
Cam Ward will most likely be in net for Carolina. It will be interesting to watch the battle between he and Evgeni Malkin. Ward has enjoyed some success against the Pens over the past couple of seasons. However, Malkin has never gone the first three games of any season without scoring and he has a three game goal scoring streak against the Canes.