PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 7: Pascal Dupuis #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the game at Consol Energy Center on March 7, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Leafs 3-2. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
With the Penguins still looking for a home-ice advantage to start the playoffs, how will they fare against a struggling Panthers team?
The Pittsburgh Penguins currently have a two point advantage over the Philadelphia Flyers for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference entering their game Friday night against the Florida Panthers. The Penguins enter this game playing great hockey with an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games. This also includes 11 wins in their last 12 home games.
Meanwhile the Panthers, despite having opportunities to take control of the Southeast Division because of recent struggles by the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets, have struggled themselves as of late losing three of their last four games, being outscored 17-5 and shut out twice. These struggles happen as the Panthers have been pursuing their first playoff berth since 2000. To add injury to insult, leading scorer Kris Versteeg will be out with a lower body injury Friday night.
Marc-Andre Fleury, given a rest in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, is set to start Friday night and has played very well recently against the Panthers. Fleury has won his last four starts against Florida with a 1.47 goals against average. Jordan Staal also enters the game on a six game point streak, accruing three goals and six assists in that span.
The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. faceoff from the CONSOL Energy Center. It will be broadcast live on ROOT Sports.