The Hurricanes (12-19-6) are coming off a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils and a 2-1 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators, but they've struggled all season, finishing in the bottom half of the league in goals per game (2.6, No. 20 in the NHL) and goals against (3.3, No. 27). That didn't stop them from beating the Penguins once earlier in the season (a 5-3 victory on November 12 that featured a two-goal performance by Tuomo Ruutu), but the Pens did beat them a month later.
The Pens are riding a three-game win streak, with wins over the Sabres, Blackhawks and Jets in which the Pens often played very well. They've gotten some strong play from Marc-Andre Fleury (who will be back in net against the Hurricanes). And Evgeni Malkin has stepped up his game in Sidney Crosby's absence: he had 17 points in 10 games in December.
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