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PIT-CAR RECAP: Penguins Blown Away by Hurricanes, Lose 4-0

After a commanding win over the Flyers to ring in the new year, the Penguins welcomed the Hurricanes to town, six days removed a 2-1 Hurricanes win.

NHL: JAN 04 Hurricanes at Penguins Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


The Penguins (20-18-3) come into this game against the Carolina Hurricanes (18-13-8) dealing with injuries to Brian Dumoulin and Carter Rowney and because of this, Mike Sullivan has had to mix and match the lineup once again. With the aforementioned injuries, the Penguins looked like this:

Playing Jake Guentzel at center could pay big dividends for the Penguins in the longer term. The combination of Guentzel and Daniel Sprong with Carl Hagelin’s speed (but lack of points) is a pretty solid third line.

Phil Kessel on the off wing isn't the best look, but what else can Sullivan do with the forwards given to him...

The Hurricanes trotted out this lineup:

1st Period

Dominik Simon created two very good scoring chances nearly eight minutes into the period. Cam Ward was out of position, but was able to get back into his net to preserve the 0-0 game.

Through ten minutes of the game, the Penguins showed many encouraging signs. They really came out fast and with a purpose, spending a lot of time in the offensive zone.

While there was no score through 12 minutes of the first period, there is a GIF of Evgeni Malkin doing Evgeni Malkin things:

With 2:12 to go in the period, Phil Kessel was sent to the box (to feel shame) and to serve a slashing penalty. The penalty would be successfully killed and the period would come to an end seconds later.

Stats through one:

2nd Period

Early on, the Penguins struggled mightily to get out of their own zone.

Jeff Skinner finally broke the 0-0 tie seven minutes into the period. Skinner applied enough pressure on Ian Cole to take the puck, break into the zone, and beat Matt Murray on the glove side.

Seconds after the goal, Skinner was sent to the box for a delay of game penalty, giving Pittsburgh its first power-play. Well, it was a horrendous Penguin power-play that included a 2-on-1 chance for the Canes that was stopped by Murray.

Through 11 minutes of the second period, the Penguins had only accumulated nine total shots on goal. In other words, not good, Bob!

The pressure being applied by Carolina was incredibly strong; the Penguins didn't have a lot of controlled zone time throughout the period and often struggled to get out of their own end.

Carolina increased their lead with three minutes to go in the period. They played a fun game of tic-tac-toe that led to just about every Penguin being out of position. Teuvo Teravainen may never score an easier goal.

Take a look at the passing clinic that led to the goal:

The period would end with the Hurricanes taking a 2-goal lead into the dressing room after total domination.

Stats through two:

3rd Period

The Penguins came out for the third period throwing everything they had at Cam Ward and company to try and ignite a fire.

Six minutes into the period, Justin Faulk was penalized for a delay of game, giving the Penguins their chance to start the comeback. This was another poor power-play that resulted in nothing for the Penguins.

Sebastian Aho would put the final nail in this coffin. A great individual effort by Aho led to a great backhand goal and a 3-0 lead.

Aho just would not die. 4-0 off of a tip-in.

Time would wind down through the period and the game would end with the Penguins losing by a score of 4-0.

Final Thoughts

  • Welp, after an exhilarating win over Philadelphia, the Penguins came out and laid a goose egg at home. If you are a glass half full kind of person, knowing that the Penguins escaped the game without any major injuries (to my knowledge), is a positive!
  • A lot of Carolina’s success could be contributed to their defensemen often joining the rush, creating plays, and getting pucks to the net.
  • It was repeated on the television broadcast all night long: Carolina is a well-coached, very disciplined, and a very good defensive team. And in both games against the Pens, it helped them earn a victory.
  • Will GMJR feel the need to make a “panic” trade in the very near future to salvage this season? Only time will tell, but whatever happens, I hope a decision is made with the future in mind. Remember, it’s okay to have a down season coming off of two straight championships.
  • The Penguins must erase this ugly loss from their memory banks rather quickly. They will be back in action tomorrow night when they travel to Long Island to battle the Islanders.