Carolina trying to stay hot

Despite having to endure their longest road trip of the year just two weeks into the season, the Carolina Hurricanes aren't complaining.

The streaking Hurricanes continue their six-game trip Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After opening their road trip with a 2-0 loss to the Washington on Oct. 6, the Hurricanes (4-1-1) have won three straight, following a 7-1 rout of Toronto on Oct. 8 with a 5-3 win over Ottawa on Oct. 11, and then beating Montreal 3-1 on Saturday.

"Sometimes when you score seven goals in a night, obviously the other team didn't play well but it gives guys confidence and you can see that we took advantage of it for the remainder of that road trip," said left wing Corey Stillman, who scored his second goal of the season against the Canadiens.

Carolina has received excellent goaltending from Cam Ward, who recorded 23 saves against Montreal while improving to 4-0-1 and lowering his goals-against average to 1.79.

The 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner was inconsistent last year, going 30-21-6 with a 2.93 GAA. When the Hurricanes failed to make the playoffs the year after winning the Stanley Cup, Ward spent the offseason getting into shape.

"I think it's fair to say I've seen the highs, I've seen the lows and I'm a better player because of it," said Ward, who believes he's lost about 20 pounds. "I was able to really shed the pounds and ultimately get myself into the best shape I've ever been in. I'm feeling better on the ice because of it, and it's paying dividends for me."

Ward is 6-2-0 in eight starts career versus the Penguins. He recorded 33 saves against them in Carolina's 4-1 victory at home on Oct. 5. The Hurricanes have won five of their last six contests against Pittsburgh, and eight of the last 12 meetings at Mellon Arena.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Pittsburgh -136 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 6.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Carolina +126 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Carolina concludes its trip Saturday in Philadelphia.

While the Hurricanes look to extend their winning streak, the Penguins (2-3-0) are struggling to find consistency. They've alternated losses and wins in their five games this season, and have dropped two straight at home.

Pittsburgh has scored 10 total goals in its last two games but split the decisions, winning 6-4 at Toronto last Saturday and losing 5-4 on Wednesday to the New Jersey Devils. The Penguins scored three power-play goals in five opportunities, and Sidney Crosby had two assists, but Pittsburgh was hampered by 20 minutes in penalties and allowed a pair of power-play scored to the Devils.

Crosby, the reigning NHL MVP, has tallied four points in his last two games. Evgeni Malkin, last year's Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year, had a goal and an assist Wednesday and has recorded at least one point in each of the Penguins' five games in 2007-08.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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