It doesn't matter that he's 38 years old and that he's not the same player as he was the last time he was on the Penguins. It doesn't matter that he'll be wearing number 72. All that matters is that Alexei Kovalev will have a skating penguin on his chest once again.
That's a good enough reason as any to watch tonight's game closely.
Know your enemy: Canes Country
Everyone was smiling at the RBC Center this morning as the Carolina Hurricanes, (28-24-9) prepared for their matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, (36-20-6) tonight in Raleigh, NC. Stillman was skating with his old linemates from 2006, Erik Cole and Eric Staal. Is there any magic left in this threesome? Both Cole and Staal had career years back then, with Stillman providing the assists. Jim Rutherford probably had that in mind when he brought the winger back into the fold. But this is 2011, can Stillman still get the job done?
It's nostalgia city all over the place tonight.
Season series: Penguins Lead 3-0
Last meeting: January 22, 2011 - Penguins Won 3-2
What we said in our recap:
The good news: The Penguins won a game without Crosby and Malkin. The bad news: They almost melted down. Again. But a win's a win. And they beat a surging Hurricanes team. Any wins without Crosby and Malkin is a plus. Pens don't win this game without Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey.
"Pens don't win this game without Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey."
At least Jeffrey's back tonight.
Like we said, Jeffrey's back tonight.
Tim Wallace is back in the AHL
Mario is with Kovy.
The Hurricanes are clinging to the final playoff spot in the East. They're three points ahead of Buffalo.
They're 3-4-3 in their last ten.
Favorite Hurricanes-related Photoshop or gif:
James Neal - Jordan Staal - Alexei Kovalev
Matt Cooke - Max Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Dustin Jeffrey - Pascal Dupuis
Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Chris Conner
Kris Letang - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland
Ben Lovejoy - Brian Strait
Hurricanes Lines from Empty Netters:
Cory Stillman - Eric Staal - Erik Cole
Jeff Skinner - Tuomo Ruutu - Jussi Jokinen
Sergei Samsonov - Brandon Sutter - Chad LaRose
Jiri Tlusty - Patrick Dwyer - Troy Bodie
Joni Pitkanen - Joe Corvo
Tim Gleason - Andrew McBain
Brett Carson - Jay Harrison