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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
CHA 115
ATL 100
Final
CAR 3
NJD 1
5:00pm Tonight
CAR
BOS
 
5:05pm Tonight
DUKE
GONZ
 
Final
NYY 2
BAL 10
Final
TAM 6
BOS 9
Final
MIA 1
HOU 1
Final
MIN 7
PHI 1
Final
DET 4
STL 3
Final
PIT 8
TOR 3
Final
TOR 3
ATL 5
Final
NYM 10
WAS 2
Final
CIN 9
CHC 5
Final
MIL 2
CLE 3
Final
CHC 18
COL 4
Final
CWS 4
OAK 10
Final
TEX 2
SDP 3
Final
SEA 8
SFG 9
Final
ARI 5
KAN 10
Final
ANA 4
LOS 5
1:05pm Today
PHI
DET
 
1:05pm Today
WAS
MIA
 
1:05pm Today
BAL
MIN
 
1:05pm Today
STL
NYM
 
1:05pm Today
HOU
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
ATL
PIT
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
TAM
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
BAL
 
3:10pm Today
ANA
CIN
 
4:05pm Today
KAN
CHC
 
4:05pm Today
CLE
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
SFG
LOS
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
MIL
 
4:05pm Today
SDP
SEA
 
4:05pm Today
LOS
TEX
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
Final
CHA 115
ATL 100
Final
CHI 111
NYK 80
Final
MIL 95
GSW 108
Final
UTA 94
OKC 89
Final
POR 120
DEN 114
12:30pm Today
WAS
HOU
 
3:30pm Today
BRK
LAL
 
4:00pm Today
NOP
MIN
 
4:30pm Today
CLE
PHI
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
DET
 
6:00pm Tonight
BOS
LAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
SAN
MEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
OKC
 
Final
WISC 85
ARZ 78
Final
YALE 78
CAN 73
Final
KENT 68
ND 66
2:20pm Today
LOU
MSU
 
5:05pm Tonight
DUKE
GONZ
 
Final
WAS 3
NAS 4
Final
NYI 2
ANA 3
Final
PIT 3
ARI 2
Final
BOS 4
NYR 2
Final
PHI 2
SJS 3
Final
DET 4
TAM 0
Final
MON 3
FLA 2
Final
CAR 3
NJD 1
Final
TOR 4
OTT 3
Final
STL 2
CLB 4
Final
MIN 4
LOS 1
Final
COL 5
BUF 3
Final
VAN 3
DAL 4
3:00pm Today
NYR
WAS
5:00pm Tonight
CAR
BOS
 
5:00pm Tonight
NAS
CAL
 
5:00pm Tonight
NYI
DET
 
5:00pm Tonight
OTT
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
ANA
 
7:30pm Tonight
WIN
CHI
 
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
SJS