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Penguins/Hurricanes Recap: Carolina pulls away in third to down Pittsburgh

Sidney Crosby’s two goals aren’t enough, the Penguins fall 4-2 on the road in Carolina

Pittsburgh Penguins v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Getty Images


Same players for the Penguins, but a little tweak with Radim Zohorna and Rickard Rakell switching spots with the team looking to break Rakell out of his early-season slump.

Carolina goes with Antti Raanta in net and this lineup.

First period

The Pens’ top line opens the scoring, because Tristan Jarry shows up and makes two quality saves on the dangerous Sebastian Aho from right in front to keep his team in it.

Of course it’s none other than Sidney Crosby to start things out. Jake Guentzel makes a long pass, and Crosby does a standard Crosby thing to make the really hard look routine to pull the puck out of his skates and quickly sweep it into the net. Pittsburgh is on the board 10:40 into the game.

Chad Ruhwedel gets called for a questionable penalty against with 1:54 to go, but the Pens nurse it into intermission. In fact, they almost do more than that when the long reach of Ryan Graves pokes a puck into the neutral zone that Bryan Rust catches up to for a clean breakaway. Rust beats Raanta, but not the post.

Shots are 13-10 Carolina through 20 minutes, but the visitors hold a 1-0 lead where it counts.

Second period

Pittsburgh kills off the slight remainder of the period, then draw a power play of their own when Vinnie Hinostroza is tripped and crashes hard into the back wall, back first. Hinostroza stays down for a bit and gingerly leaves for the locker room. Carolina returns the favor of a tight PK and doesn’t give the Pens much to work with either.

The Hurricanes tip the ice and get the better of the play as the period goes along. A series of pretty passes between Seth Jarvis and Teuvo Teravainen set Aho up for a goal to tie the game 1-1.

Shots in the second are 11-5 Carolina, with the Pens fading away.

Third period

Jarry stays on his game by reaching back with his stick and keeping a Jarvis chance from point blank range out of the net.

The Pens take a penalty in the sequence, but they get the first scoring chance when Noel Acciari has a breakaway. He can’t score, but right as the power play is ending, Brent Burns can by blasting a shot from near the blueline to send Carolina to their first lead of the game with 17:14 remaining.

The teams trade chances going back and forth and the goalies keep ‘em out for a while. Carolina appears to strike when on a rush when Martin Necas sets up Andrei Svechnikov, but the eagle eye of the Pens’ video team smells a rat about Necas pulling himself off-side for the rush. The refs review it and agree with the Pittsburgh perspective, no goal.

The turntables turn when less than a minute later, the Pens take advantage on staying close and tie the game up. It’s Crosby again cleaning up a rebound from a Kris Letang shot. Carolina takes a long time to consider a challenge for off-sides of their own, but they decide not to do it. 2-2 game

Undeterred, Jarvis scores a goal that counts to re-establish Carolina’s lead at 8:08 to go.

Pittsburgh pulls Jarry as a last ditch effort. Karlsson loses the puck and has to trip a Cane, causing a penalty and going to the box for it. Jarry still gets pulled when the Pens get the puck and Jarvis gets an empty net PPG to seal the game.

Some thoughts

  • Tonight marks the third time in the last five Penguin games that Crosby has recorded the first goal of the contest. He’s scoring a lot in general these days (9G in last 10 games), but particularly to set the stage early on.
  • That first goal looked familiar but usually it seems like it’s Crosby feeding Guentzel in such a situation. Nice to see the roles get reversed.
  • And might as well mark the update that the big boys all kept their point streaks alive; Crosby (11 games), Karlsson (8) and Guentzel (7) managed to simultaneously extended all of their personal point streaks on the first goal of the night. Now that’s efficient.
  • It’s always a curious string to follow how a change in lines can effect overall ice time. The first period of the game (with the first 18 minutes played at ES) offers some insight to Mike Sullivan’s mindset and his comfortability with all four of his lines right now. Consider that Crosby/Guentzel took 7 shifts in the first, playing in the 5:10 range. Malkin/Smith took 7 shifts and were just under 5 minutes a piece (Zohorna himself was at 4:37). Rakell down a line, wasn’t down in ice time playing 5 shifts and in the 4:50 ice time range, along with Drew O’Connor. The fourth line was in the 3ish minute range for ES time in the first, but still pretty generous and even, all things considered.
  • Rakell was back with Malkin/Smith by crunch time in the third period, and probably for the best. Neither he nor Zohorna got much of value going in their new spots.
  • Sucks to see anyone get hurt, but it was a shame to see Hinostroza go down. His speed was flashing and he was standing out to have a pretty good night in the early goings before he took a rough ride at high speed into the wall.
  • Tying the game in the third had some coaching input, the Pens got the break during the video review and loaded up with the top line + Karlsson + Letang. (And Malkin even jumped on the ice because of a delayed penalty that was going to be called). Scary amount of firepower there.
  • Pucks for poor Acciari are going every which way but in the net. He usually ends up with the same amount of goals per season, so he’ll probably hit a hot streak sometime soon and pot a few, but it’s tough going right now.
  • Entertaining game, lots of rushes up and down the night, skating metrics for distance had to be popping. Most expect Carolina, to if not win the division then to at least be right there. The Pens were a little behind them for most the night. On the road and against a good team, not a ton of shame or surprise to be found in that. Takes a really good effort to beat the Hurricanes, and the Pens didn’t get much from outside of their first line and a few nice saves. That might beat some teams, but it’s not often going to win @CAR.

The Pens’ tough portion of the schedule continues, they jet back to Pittsburgh tonight to meet up with the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights tomorrow.