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Penguins vs. Hurricanes Game Recap: Pittsburgh loses a 4-0 snoozer

Lineups

The Penguins enter as expected with Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup again and some moderate winger shifts on the wings.

First period

Not too much going on early. Jared McCann shows some good puck skill by toe-dragging a defender but can’t beat Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney.

Late in the first Bryan Rust goes to the net and draws a penalty. The power play ices the puck and the first group doesn’t get a shot on goal so that’s about how that one went. Juuso Riikola drives to the net and the puck leaks through McElhinney but stays out of the net.

With 44 seconds left in the period, Carolina scores off the rush following a bad idea by the Pens of a low percentage pass that got turned over and taken the other way. Jordan Martinook shoots from the left side, it goes between Tanner Pearson’s legs and catches a piece of him and that’s enough to throw Matt Murray off it. 1-0.

Shots on goal end up 9-8 Carolina after 20 minutes.

Second period

The Pens get a second power play and save for Jake Guentzel redirecting a shot off the post, it’s another disaster with Murray forced to flash a leg save to not allow yet another shorthanded goal.

Live blog Jack Johnson shift:

7:34 left in period: collects puck behind the net, attempts to reverse it with a weak backhanded pass that creates a tough situation for Dominik Simon, Carolina wins puck back

7:28: Carolina flips puck behind the net again, Johnson loses physical battle to 37-year old Justin Williams who collides with JJ while stabbing the puck to Sebastien Aho

7:23: Aho centers puck for point blank one-time shot for Nino Niederreiter, Murray makes quality save

7:18: puck moved left to right, Justin Faulk gets a shot that flies high while Johnson goes to a knee to try and block, another save Murray

7:03: Carolina keeps control, Brett Pesce collects puck, Johnson gets bumped and falls puck in net

Another award winning shift! 2-0 Canes.

Marcus Pettersson takes a penalty late in the period to send Carolina to their first power play of the game.

Shots end up 13-10 Carolina in the period and 22-18 CAR overall.

Third period

The Pens kill of the penalty to Pettersson but don’t stay at even long with Pearson then holding a Cane while in the defensive zone. Pittsburgh kills that off without too much drama, though Williams did hit the post.

One negative about killing early though is at the first TV timeout the Pens don’t have a shot in the third period with 7:20 elapsed off the clock. Needless to say, not conducive to coming back from a 2-0 hole.

In fact, the Pens don’t get a shot on goal in the whole period until there’s just 8:50 left. Uninspiring.

Guentzel-Crosby-Rust is reunited, Sid gets a glorious chance from right in front but somehow whiffs on the puck and even then it still goes through McElhinney’s five hole but the puck slides harmless into the corner of the rink instead of in the net

Pittsburgh has a moderate push but nothing too impressive. Micheal Ferland caps it off with about 1:30 left with an empty net goal to make the score 3-0.

Andrei Svechnikov makes it 4-0 in the last minute when he gets past Teddy Blueger and then takes the puck to the net and sweep the puck around Murray.

Some Thoughts

  • Pretty cool nugget that Matt Cullen tied Wayne Gretzky tonight for all time games played at 1,487.
  • Not cool nugget one just about everyone on the ice on the first goal against. First Phil Kessel makes a bad decision on a pass that gets picked off. Juuso Riikola goes back, back, back, back (Chris Berman voice) and doesn’t maintain any sort of gap control. Olli Maatta isn’t in the picture so Pearson steps up to the shot. But he doesn’t block all of it and might have screened the goalie. And the goalie gets left holding the bag not stopping an outside shot that he definitely would want back.
  • McElhinney stopped McCann, Garrett Wilson and Riikola driving to the net early and it seemed like that stuck in the Pens’ head, as if they were going to need a perfect play and pass to beat him.
  • The Pens’ power play was atrocious. Usually don’t like the narrative of losing momentum on it, but it certainly seemed like the game shifted after the 1st and 2nd periods with lackluster PKs that definitely put a lot of wind in Carolina’s sails to come back and score goals shortly after they killed it each time.
  • At one point early, seeing #19 in black and gold chugging my initial immediate thought was “wow Brass is really moving his legs tonight looks great to see him trying so…..oh yeah that’s McCann”. So, nice to see a #19 that’s moving fast and putting in some effort.
  • Lots of Crosby line shuffling, started with GuentzelRust, in the second it was Guentzel-Hornqvist, by the start of the third we saw Simon-Hornqvist. Definitely looking for finding a combo that would work.
  • Guentzel-McCann-Rust was a line in the third period too. That’s an interesting one, pretty young and fast there. Guentzel of course won’t be away from Crosby forever (and they were already reunited later in the game) but it’s always interesting to see what comes out of the line blender.
  • Carolina was a fast team on the forecheck. The Pens couldn’t leave the zone much without Kris Letang out there. And though Johnson gets his share of grief, it’s not just him, the Riikola-Maatta pair is equally bad at moving the puck with possession, or at all just too many times. A night like this though makes it feel good that Justin Schultz should be back pretty soon.
  • As Gretz pointed out earlier today, you can make this now 3 games and counting for Pearson without a shot on goal. The list of players not playing so well is pretty easy to point out right now.
  • Jack Johnson night according to Natural Stat trick: Corsi Events For, 21 Against (27.59%, worst on team), worst Corsi Rel of -20.11 on the team, team high 8 scoring chances against. Another frightful night.
  • Other than the Crosby line: zzzzzz
  • With his name in the rumor mill it was fun to keep an eye on Ferland. Most noticeable was a game-high 5 hits, including a few big ones on the forecheck. He got the empty netter and one other shot on goal. All in all, not exactly Rick Tocchet but a pretty decent night.

Well that wasn’t pretty but at least it’s over. Sometimes after a bummer like that, the best thing is to hit the road and that’s exactly what the Pens will do with their upcoming road trip to Florida. And with the possibility to get some returning players from injury sooner than later hopefully that will help turn the tide a bit. Because tonight wasn’t it!

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