Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes suffered their third loss in a row on Monday night, dropping a 3-1 decision to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing skid of their own. Nathan Gerbe scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, who were held scoreless in the last two periods. “In the third period when they got the lead, they know how to play the game and shut teams down,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “We got pushed out of the game. We weren’t able to generate anything in the third period.”
-- More Muller: “Their big boys came up big, and some of our guys have to start contributing,” he said. “We’re not giving up much, but when we do, like tonight, the good players capitalize on us. We need more from other people as well.”
-- The Canes’ first period, in terms of the score, was better, as they went to the locker room with the score even at one. They were outshot 12-5 and didn’t record a shot until past the midway point of the period. In the middle frame, the Canes outshot the Penguins 13-8, but they were only able to manage three shots in the final 20 minutes. “They played a heavier game than we did,” Muller said. “They won more battles, they grinded it out harder and their big boys, at the end of the night, were on the scoresheet.”
-- Gerbe’s tally, his fourth of the season, came on a five-on-three advantage. From the slot, he one-timed a one-touch pass from Elias Lindholm, who notched his first NHL assist. Alexander Semin recorded the secondary assist, extending his point streak to four games (1g, 4a). “[Lindholm] had a really poised play there,” Gerbe said. “That’s how we drew it up and worked on this morning.”
-- Skating on the top line, Gerbe led all Canes forwards in ice time with 22:29, and he also paced the team in shots with five. “As a line, we want to do more every game, and we expect more from ourselves,” Gerbe said. “I just want to come in and make a mark on this team. I want to help, and I want to win, just like everyone else in this locker room.”
-- Justin Peters made 26 saves in his second straight start and seventh career game against Pittsburgh. “He battled, and he played hard. We broke down on a couple mistakes that cost us goals,” Muller said. “We had opportunities to capitalize, almost similar plays, and we didn’t capitalize.”
-- Jordan Staal hobbled off the ice in the third period but returned to the bench and the ice just minutes later, much to the relief of the Canes’ already-large injury list. “We weren’t sure what he was favoring. He got tangled up, but he came back, so that’s a good sign,” Muller said. “With the injuries we have, you don’t want to lose another body.”
-- The Hurricanes have a scheduled off day on Tuesday before practicing Wednesday afternoon. The team will play nine of 14 games at home in November, including six out of the first seven. That stretch begins Friday when the Canes host Tampa Bay.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Forward Jayson Megna earned his first NHL goal and his first assist in his second career game to help the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Monday at PNC Arena.
Sidney Crosby set up the second and third Pittsburgh goals and Brooks Orpik added three secondary assists. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 shots for his eighth win of the season. The win snapped the Penguins' three-game losing streak.
With a 2-1 lead entering the third period, Megna put the Penguins up by two when Crosby's shot from the slot deflected off Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera before catching a piece of Megna and slipping into the goal.
Pittsburgh dominated the first 10 minutes of the game, taking the lead on Tanner Glass's second goal of the season. Megna closed in for a shot at the bottom of the right circle, and Glass was stationed at the right side of the net to put in the rebound.
The Hurricanes struggled to generate any kind of offense, finally registering a shot on goal with 8:12 remaining in the period. Carolina tied the game late in the period on a 5-on-3 power play. With former Hurricanes forwards Brandon Sutter and Craig Adams in the box, Carolina rookie Elias Lindholm set up Nathan Gerbe in the slot for his fourth goal of the season.
The early minutes of the period featured a fight between Hurricanes forward Brett Sutter and Penguins forward Joe Vitale. Each player got in nearly a dozen swings in the moments after Brett Sutter boarded Adams.
In the second period, it was the Penguins' turn to start slowly, failing to register a shot for more than nine minutes. But Pittsburgh finally took the lead on the fifth goal of the season for Chris Kunitz.
Crosby did much of the heavy lifting on the play to earn his 11th assist of the season. Crosby took a long pass from Orpik at the offensive blue line before turning outside, then curling in at the top of the faceoff circle. He put a pass on the tape of Kunitz, who redirected the puck past Justin Peters on the left door step.
The Hurricanes had two power-play opportunities in the second period, generating four shots. The Hurricanes outshot the Penguins in the middle period, 13-7.
For the game, the Penguins outshot Carolina 29-21.