Tonight's 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes got me thinking: what exactly qualifies as a comeback? Is it the ability to comeback, as in tie, or is it the ability to comeback, tie it and proceed to win? I guess that is what defines a headline such as "Comeback Win" and simply "comeback."
Well, the Pens mustered a huge comeback in the third period after trailing 3-0 through the first 40+ minutes. Two goals from Jordan Staal (including one shorthanded), plus another from Chris Kunitz, allowed Pittsburgh to close the gap within the first 12 minutes of the final period. There's the comeback. Unfortunately, the comeback win never came to fruition, as Carolina proceeded to add two more tallies before all was said and done to pick up two points at home and send the Pens packing.
Compared to last night's win over the Stars, this one was filled with whistles and penalties. The night kicked off with an opening bell as Arron Asham and Bryan Allen each dropped the mitts four minutes in. From there the night consisted of a number of minors, some off-setting, that may have contributed to the rhythm of the game. Or more specifically, Pittsburgh's inability to get into the flow early on.
Then again, it was the second game in two days, and we all know what a flat Penguins team looks like in such situations. I can't really say for sure if the Pens looked flat to start this one, but they sure as hell had to dig deep in the third period to try and pull it off.
All in all, the two teams combined for nine power-play chances on the night, but each came up empty handed. Pittsburgh went 0-for-5, while Carolina posted a blank outing on four chances. Nevertheless, the Penguins peppered the Carolina goal all night, registering 40 shots and making Cam Ward really sweat it out to hold on to whatever lead Carolina was working with at the time.
Tough to pin some of those Carolina goals on Brent Johnson too. It seems like two of the first three came off of broken plays, and the one-timer Skinner-to-Ruutu goal that marked the first goal in the second period really was just a defensive breakdown. Then Eric Staal banged home a loose puck completely untouched in front of the Pittsburgh goal before Chad Larose iced it on a breakaway when Kris Letang was caught pinching in the offensive zone. Down a goal with less than three minutes to go is a good enough reason to want to up the offensive pressure, but faulting in your own end and allowing a breakaway doesn't help much either.
But hey, I'm not here to make excuses. Despite the outcome it was still an exciting game to watch. Pens are back at it Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche.