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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 1st (All times Eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (32-32-11) at Pittsburgh Penguins (48-22-5), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to win back-to-back division titles for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.

With 101 points, the Penguins have already clinched their eighth straight trip to the postseason and have a 13-point lead over the second-place New York Rangers in the brand-new Metropolitan Division.

With just six games left to the Penguins' seven, the Rangers are already mathematically eliminated from catching Pittsburgh, but the third-place Philadelphia Flyers have a game in hand over the Pens and are 15 points back of the top spot.

Pittsburgh, though, can clinch the division with a victory over Carolina or a regulation loss by Philadelphia tonight versus the St. Louis Blues. The Penguins can also lock up the division crown with a point and a loss by Philadelphia in overtime or a shootout.

The Penguins have won consecutive division titles just once before in franchise history, doing so in 1992-93 and '93-94. The won the Atlantic Division last year during the strike-shortened campaign before shifting to the Metropolitan Division following realignment.

The Pens have followed up a three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins, besting the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Sunday. That pushed Pittsburgh past the 100-point mark for the sixth time in the past eight seasons, including last year's shortened campaign when the Pens compiled 72 points in 48 games.

Coincidentally, the lone time that the Penguins did not reach the 100-point mark was their Stanley Cup-winning 2008-09 season, when they finished with 99 points.

Sidney Crosby continued his MVP season with two goals in Sunday's win. He leads the NHL with 63 assists and 99 points and is tied for fourth in the league with 36 goals.

James Neal and Lee Stempniak also scored and Marc-Andre Fleury came up with 25 saves.

"(The Blackhawks) put a lot of pressure on us and I thought we were able to handle it well," said Crosby. "They started to take a few more risks later on and we were able to capitalize."

The Penguins will try to sweep their four-game season series with the Hurricanes and have won five straight and eight of the previous nine meetings overall.

Carolina has lost six straight in Pittsburgh, where it has not won since March 20, 2010.

The Hurricanes are seven points back of a wild card spot with seven games to play, having lost three of four and six of their last nine games.

Carolina was bested 2-1 in a shootout by the Ottawa Senators last night, with Ales Hemsky scoring the lone goal of the tiebreaker.

Jeff Skinner scored in his fourth straight game and Cam Ward made 28 saves in defeat. The lone goal Ward allowed in regulation came on a deflection that was reviewed to see if Ottawa's Mika Zibanejad had kicked the puck in just 1:41 into the game.

"As much as you like to take goals back, you can't," said Ward. "I thought it probably could have gone either way on the video replay, but from what I understand he didn't have a kicking motion. You have to look at it as a lucky break on their side."

Skinner scored just over two minutes later to tie the game, potting his 30th tally of the season. That is just one shy of the career-high 31 goals he scored as a rookie in 2010-11.

Carolina lost a pair of forwards to injury last night, with Jiri Tlusty and Andrei Loktionov suffering upper-body ailments.

04/01 10:52:51 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
CLE 98
ATL 127
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
DET 106
DAL 117
Final
BOS 109
ORL 92
Final
MIA 87
UTA 105
Final
TOR 105
BRK 89
2nd OT
SAN 104
MEM 106
 
Half
POR 43
MIL 41
 
2nd
DEN 41
HOU 32
 
2nd
LAC 39
IND 39
 
Final
UNT 78
LANG 65
 
Final
Terriers 64
DELST 72
 
Final
MSST 55
ARKST 69
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
GMAS 99
CATAWBA 69
 
Final
WOFF 64
CSOU 58
 
Final
HIGH 106
FERR 48
 
Final
JVU 68
GWEBB 65
 
Final
ILL 73
HAMP 55
 
Final
BST 52
JMU 72
 
Final
YOUNG 84
KNST 90
 
Final
UMO 71
LONG 60
 
Final
PITT 65
MAN 56
Final
OSU 97
NCAT 55
Final
FSU 93
UNF 77
 
Final
TOL 83
RMU 57
 
Final
CAMP 70
SIUE 65
 
Final
DUQ 52
RFLSH 67
 
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
UCF 75
DET 70
Final
UNCW 73
LIB 70
 
Final
LOYC 83
ABCHRIST 44
 
Final
MURST 94
ALCOR 56
 
Final
HOU 56
ARKPB 61
 
Final
NW 67
CMICH 80
Final
WKENT 75
CHIST 60
 
Final
ODU 58
UGST 54
Final
SMU 67
ILLCH 46
Final
LALAF 115
MLGN 76
 
Final
TULSA 74
MIZST 70
Final
UWGB 66
MORE 50
 
Final
NEOM 92
NCOL 82
 
Final
TTU 101
SCST 39
 
Final
DEN 83
TAMCC 73
 
Final
STEPH 66
TXST 60
 
Final
STLU 75
TXPA 69
 
Final
MEM 83
USCU 73
 
Final
ILLST 64
TENNM 54
 
Final
MSU 66
EMICH 46
 
Final
GRCN 80
INCWORD 82
 
Final
STAN 67
LMU 58
Final
BAY 66
NMST 55
 
1st OT
CIN 64
SDST 60
 
Final
AUB 80
WINT 62
 
2nd
NMU 50
CARK 41
 
2nd
PEPP 36
HOW 27
 
2nd
CPSL 39
NE 45
 
1st
UNLV 26
PORT 29
 
1st
OREG 6
CSNO 8
 
1st
WASH 15
GRAM 3
 
Final
NJD 0
OTT 2
Final
MIN 2
BOS 3
2nd
VAN 0
DAL 1