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Penguins/Hurricanes Recap: Guentzel’s late goal gets Pens a point, but Carolina wins in OT

The Penguins rally to force overtime, but once there end up losing to the Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images


An unhappy surprise for the Penguins, who end their streak of not having anyone unavailable at six games by losing Kris Letang for the night due to an undisclosed illness. That shuffles all three defensive pairs as a result. Up front, Kasperi Kapanen is back after a long trip in the dog house for much of November.

Here’s what the banged up Hurricanes are riding with tonight.

First period

The Hurricanes earn the first power play 2:08 in, when Jake Guentzel gets his stick up for a hooking call. The Pens’ red hot PK kills it off and then Pittsburgh strikes at the first shift back to full strength. Rickard Rakell doesn’t get credit for an assist, but he starts the sequence inside his own zone winning the puck and making a pass to P.O. Joseph. Joseph makes a nice lead pass for Guentzel who feeds Sidney Crosby. Crosby seamlessly plays the puck from skate to stick as he’s done so many times and punches a shot in past goalie Pyotr Kochetkov. 1-0 Pens at the 4:38 mark.

Might have been more circumstance for the puck to conveniently on edge to roll up his stick just right, but Rakell leaned into it and tried the ‘Michigan’ move! Think the first line isn’t feeling it tonight?

Jarry stops Jordan Staal with a nice save, but otherwise fairly quiet end to the first period. Pittsburgh was way better earlier on, but Carolina came on more towards the end. Shots after one 13-8 in favor of the Canes.

Second period

The Pens earn their first power play of the game when Jesper Kotkaniemi trips up Jason Zucker. It’s another poor one - Crosby has a stick break and that leads to a 2-on-1 for Carolina, but Jarry makes a big save. Evgeni Malkin takes it up the ice and loses it almost immediately and there’s another Hurricane 2-on-1 that Jarry makes a pair of extra saves on for good measure. Good grief.

With the momentum in their corner, the Canes convert their zone time into a goal. Brett Pesce’s shot from the point causes a commotion in front of the net and the rebound eventually gets to Martin Necas to smack into the goal. 1-1 game.

The Pens get a second power play and escape it without damage, but Carolina scores after. Sebastien Aho’s shot hits Jarry’s glove, and the rebound pops out. Andrei Svechnikov corrals it and puts a power move to a wraparound and beats Jarry to the far post to stuff it home and put Carolina out front 2-1 with 2:22 remaining in the second period.

The Malkin line shows a little sign of life, but a dreadful middle frame for the Pens who get out-shot 17-10 in the second and lose their lead.

Overall, shots for the game are 30-18 Carolina. With the volume shooting ‘Canes that total is a bit misleading considering 5v5 scoring chances are 18-13 for the Pens and high danger chances are 13-8 Pittsburgh. But get enough pucks to the net, and sometimes good things can happen, and it’s happened twice for Carolina to score.

Third period

After surely getting an earful during intermission, Pittsburgh comes out fiery in the early portion of the third and gets the first four shots of the period. 2:40 in, they slow with Rakell taking an offensive zone high-sticking minor to give Carolina their second power play of the night. The Pens’ PK stays as hot as their power play is cold and kills it off.

Malkin nearly scores but gets a shot blocked with the goalie down and out. Rust later gets a breakaway, no dice.

The Pens keep making a push for an equalizer but are having trouble getting it. With two minutes even left, Mike Sullivan pulls Jarry for an extra skater. Jeff Petry slings a wrister from near the point and Jake Guentzel gets a piece of the puck at the front of the net with 57 seconds left in the game to tie it up at 2-2 and send the game to overtime.


After feeling each other out early on, Carolina ends the game. Seth Jarvis buries Bryan Rust near the boards, causing a commotion among the Pens and leading to a clear 2-on-0 down the ice. Jarry just sits tight and tries to take up as much as possible and Svechnikov skates the puck all the way into the crease and moves it laterally for Brett Pesce to scoop into the net from in tight. Game.

Some thoughts

  • Loved the start by the Pens, they looked crisp playing the puck and were looking sharp. It took a bit longer for the Hurricanes to get their skates under them.
  • From NHL PR: Crosby’s goal was his 101st game-opening tally, putting him first place in the Pens’ history books past Mario Lemieux’s 100.
  • With Letang absent, Jeff Petry took his spot on the first power play with the big guns (17, 59, 71 and 87).
  • Jarry was tremendous early in the game but wore down either physically or mentally (or both) by the end of the second. He was bailing the team out early, but the one guy on that team you don’t want to almost literally hand the puck too while being out of the crease was the guy who got the gift. Tough one to take, but with the undue amount of pressure that was being applied to Jarry, it was only a matter of time before anyone would be at the point of failure in a very bad period for the Pens.
  • Love the style when the Pens and Canes clash. It’s just always good, clean, competitive hockey. Two strong teams, fighting hard and in a fun style. There’s chances at each ends, the skill players exchange looks at the net. Two great coaches directing a lot of good stuff out there. Fun to watch, could stand to see these teams play all the time.
  • The Pens fall to 0-4 for games decided in the 3v3 portion of OT this season (they’re 1-0 when it gets to the shootout). Probably more tough breaks than anything else, but only getting one point in the standings instead of two is going to add up after a while.
  • The ending play looked controversial, but was also partially self-inflicted. Rust left the o-zone and curled back right to a stationary Petry. Rust then turned his back to the Cane, an invitation to be dumped, which he was. Petry reacted to that, but it was not wise usage of space for Rust to drift towards a teammate in a 3v3 situation in the first place. From there, the game was over. Rust wasn’t technically boarded, though he was close to the boards and checked from behind, it was a potentially risky hit, but also a competitive play, and ultimately bad choice by Rust to try and buy time for a line change.

Pittsburgh won’t be thrilled with the result, but at least they get something out of the night with the last minute goal in regulation. Better than nothing. The home-stand continues on Thursday night against Vegas.