The Pittsburgh Penguins best weapon, the power play, failed them early. It got three chances in the first two periods and failed to score, and as a result the game was tied 1-1 after two periods in a game tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Luckily it wouldn't come back to bite them.
Carolina struck first in the first period, Jiri Tlusty made a nice pass to Eric Staal who found Elias Lindholm in the slot with a lot of room. Lindholm ripped a nice shot by Marc-Andre Fleury. The Pens would answer late in the first when the uninjured Beau Bennett stole a puck off the wall and fed Chris Kunitz. Kunitz put a nice shot by the glove of Cam Ward to tie the game at 1.
So the scoring would stay, but not without the Penguins dominating shots on goal in the second period to the tune of 17-7. Ward was good but so too was Fleury who robbed Tlusty from point blank range late in the stanza. Fleury would again foil a 2-on-1 shot attempt by Jay McClement later in the third period that seemed ticketed for the net and then robbed Lindholm on a mini-breakaway on a Carolina power play.
It would stay tied due to those saves until late in the game. The Pens took a great shift in the offensive zone, changed lines and Bennett fed Brandon Sutter in front of the net for a shot that clipped off defenseman Brett Bellmore and past Ward blocker side.
A few more end of 2014 thoughts on the game:
- Craig Adams was ornery in his first game back- recording 7 official hits. The team as a whole only had 26.
- Bennett too made an impact with his two primary assists, and also had 4 shots on goal (and 7 total shot attempts) getting ample power play time with the second unit. Good to see him back, now the question as always, is how long will he stay.
- No matter what happens in his career, Bryan Rust can at least tell his future grandchildren one day about the time he played a whole game on a line with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Future sentimentalism aside, he wasn't really a fit. Frequent off-sides, poor passes, it's not Rust's fault but the sooner he's out of there, the better. Had a really nice chance just prior to the Sutter goal with a good shot, but it wasn't to be.
- The goalies were really the stars of the show. Some great work from Fleury and Ward.
- Kris Letang had an awesome sequence- while short-handed no less, when he took the puck deep in his own zone (kinda bumping off Adams to do so) and racing 150 feet all the way to the net to get a shot on Ward. And ending up crashing into him too as he was defended. Won't see too many defensemen do that short-handed, but then again you won't see very many like Kris Letang.
- Pens basically won with 3 lines, with Jayson Megna (9), Bobby Farnham (7) and Andrew Ebbett (9) all getting just a handful of shifts a period. One would have to think when more players return to health, these will be the guys going back down.
That's it from here, a merry 2015 to you all!