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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
DUKE 47
TULA 13
 
1st
ECU 14
UNC 13
 
6:00pm Tonight
TOWSN
NCCU
 
6:00pm Tonight
NCSU
PRES
 
9th
KAN 2
DET 3
 
8th
CHC 6
LOS 7
 
1st
OAK 0
PHI 0
 
1st
NYY 0
TOR 1
 
1st
COL 0
ARI 0
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
BOS
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
CWS
7:10pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
NYM
7:10pm Tonight
HOU
SEA
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
7:15pm Tonight
STL
CIN
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
TEX
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
 
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
 
Final
VT 24
GT 27
 
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
 
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
 
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
 
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
 
3rd
COL 21
HAW 12
 
3rd
AKR 3
MARS 31
 
2nd
WAKE 7
ARMY 7
 
2nd
KU 7
CMICH 0
 
1st
ALA 7
UF 14
 
3:30pm Today
FIU 0
LOU 0
1st
ECU 14
UNC 13
 
2nd
NAVY 7
RUTG 7
 
1st
SMU 0
TEXAM 17
 
2nd
MICH 3
UTAH 10
 
2nd
BYU 3
UVA 10
 
1st
WYO 0
FATL 0
 
1st
MIZZ 0
IND 0
 
1st
PSU 0
UMASS 0
 
1st
MINN 3
SJST 0
 
1st
ILL 6
TXST 0
 
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WASH
GASTATE
7:00pm Tonight
SMISS
APPST
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
BST
7:00pm Tonight
OHIO
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7:00pm Tonight
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LSU
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UTST
7:30pm Tonight
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10:00pm Tonight
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10:30pm Tonight
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10:30pm Tonight
WASU
OREG
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
SDST
6:00pm Tonight
TOWSN
NCCU
 
6:00pm Tonight
NCSU
PRES