By: Casey Shea

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will return to the ice after their Christmas break to take on the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night.

The Penguins entered the break with a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets to extend their winning streak to three games.

James Neal, Jordan Staal and Pascal Dupuis scored in the first five minutes of the third period to blow the game open.

Pittsburgh outshot the Jets 39-19, but Marc-Andre Fleury held the fort during an early barrage of chances in the first period.

Carolina enters the game just two points ahead of the last place Islanders in the Eastern Conference.

The Hurricanes knocked off the Devils Monday night at home in a game where goaltender Cam Ward was given credit for a goal.

With the goalie pulled, New Jersey was looking for the equalizer. Ward made a save and the puck went to the corner. Ilya Kovalchuk tracked it down and fired a pass to the point. However, the puck sailed down the ice and into the empty net.

Ward was the last Hurricanes player to touch the puck and was given credit for the goal.

This will be the third meeting between the two teams this season after splitting the previous two games in Carolina.

While the Penguins are dealing with injuries, the Hurricanes can relate.

Super sophomore Jeff Skinner is out with a concussion, as is Joni Pitkanen. Backup goaltender Brian Boucher was placed on injured reserve earlier this month and Ward has started every game since.

It remains to be seen if Ward will start in back-to-back games or if Justin Peters will get the nod against the Penguins.

Against Pittsburgh, Ward is 11-5-2 with a 2.41 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Peters is 2-0-1 with a 3.33 GAA and .903 save percentage against the Pens in his career.

For Pittsburgh, Neal’s third period goal against the Jets was his 20th of the season. The goal extended his point streak to seven games.

Malkin’s assist on the goal extended his own point streak to seven games as well. Against Carolina, Malkin has six goals and 14 assists in 18 games.

In goal, Fleury is 5-5-2 with one tie against the Hurricanes in his career with a 2.80 GAA and a.906 save percentage.

The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.

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For More Penguins Coverage Check Out Puck Talk With Popchock.


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