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Pens comeback falls short, lose to Carolina 3-2

Hurricanes vs Penguins coverage - Canes Country

For the opening goal, Andrew Alberts (he of 2 goals in his 291 NHL game career before tonight) walked in and had a lot of room when BFF's Erik Cole and Brooks Orpik were tied up right out in front.  The Canes would extend the lead to 2-0 when Jussi Jokinen took a great pass by Joni Pitkanen and drove right past Jay McKee and Mark Eaton.  Carolina would take a three goal lead when notorious Penguin-killer Ray Whitney dangled around in the offensive zone while no fewer than three Penguins (Ruslan Fedotenko, Kris Letang and Max Talbot) remained stationary.

The tide would turn though, Letang made an excellent pass up to Bill Guerin, who flipped it over for Sidney Crosby.  Crosby made one of those unique plays where he kinda chopped at the puck and it winded up in the net.  The next shift the Noted One buried it to make the deficit just one.

And just like that, there would be no more scoring.  The Penguins pressed and pressed but Carolina goalie Manny Legace was up to the task and wouldn't allow any more.  Almost unbelievably, two months into the season this is the Hurricanes first win away from the RBC Center.

  • Guerin did a good job waking the Pens up with a fight against Gleason.  Gleason's hands must be sore after ringing a lot of punches of Guerin's helmet.
  • The difference of the game turned out to be the power-plays.  The Pens anemic PP went another "0 fer" night, this time 0 for 3.  Carolina was 1-5.  Also the fact that the Canes were able to earn two more PP's by their hard work and puck possession helps too.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury had an odd night.  Didn't seem like he was seeing the puck too well.  His defense wasn't helping him out much either in the early going.  The whole team was in something of a funk or haze for a while there, it was strange.
  • If you didn't know Sidney Crosby missed last game with a sore groin, you'd never know based on his play.  A solid 26:32 of icetime, he fired 4 shots on goal, a hit, a blocked shot, a takeaway, a giveaway and a 55% winner on 22 faceoffs.
  • In fact, every member of the Pens (except Jay McKee) was credited with at least a shot on goal.  It wasn't for a lack of throwing rubber at Legace that Pittsburgh didn't win.
  • Credit Carolina for blocking shots; 17 in all.  They knocked down six of Letang's efforts.  They may be in last place, but they certainly didn't roll over and die.
  • Not many signs of life (again) from guys like Max Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko.  The wingers have to come through and these guys aren't having much luck.
  • 0-1-1 since waiving Chris Bourque, is the glue of the team gone?  (Kidding, kidding).

Being the defending Stanley Cup champs means you catch efforts like this.  Doesn't matter if the team across the ice is in first place or last, they're looking to take down the Pens.  Luckily for Pittsburgh they have a few days to figure things out and get ready to go to Montreal; where guys like Crosby, Letang and Pascal Dupuis always love to play.  Hopefully that shot in the arm can carry through.