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The Confluence

Flat start costs Penguins in 3-2 loss to Hurricanes

I remain to be amazed how sometimes the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins play alike.  Doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s uncanny.

One day after the Steelers laid a golden stink bomb at Heinz Field against the woeful Oakland Raiders, the Penguins took it easy for the first 25 or so minutes tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, allowing three goals before finally waking up.  However, their comeback was one goal short, as the Canes finally won their first road game of the season at the expense of the Cup champs, 3-2.

Manny Legace got the win for the Canes, remaining unbeaten in his career vs. the Penguins with a 4-0-0 record.  Sidney Crosby continued his strong recent play after taking Saturday off with a sore groin with a goal, while the great Mike Rupp scored his 9th of the season.

As has usually been the case with teams coming into the Igloo this season, the Canes came out flying, and tonight the Penguins had relatively nothing to match their intensity.

The Penguins’ flatfootedness caused them to allow the opening goal for the seventh time in their last eight games.  And it was scored by quite the unlikely player, that being defenseman Andrew Alberts, who scored his first of the season.  Alberts got the puck in the Penguins’ zone as the trailer from Ray Whitney, patiently waited for Marc-Andre Fleury to go down, then kept the puck long enough that Fleury was sprawling, tossing it past Fleury on his backhand for an early 1-0 lead for the Canes at 4:45.

They doubled their lead on the powerplay later in the first period when Jussi Jokinen split the Penguins’ defensemen Mark Eaton and Jay McKee and fired a wrister to the top shelf that beat Fleury to make it 2-0 Canes.

The lead was tripled early in the second period as Ray Whitney took a pass in the left slot and appeared to fool Fleury into thinking that he wasn’t going to shoot, which is exactly what he did on a hard wrister into the net for a 3-0 Canes lead.

The Penguins finally woke up six minutes into the second when Kris Letang made a long pass to the Canes’ blue line to Bill Guerin, who made a nice soft backhanded pass to a streaking Crosby, who then simply swiped at the puck with both hands and found a gap between Legace and the near post to cut the Canes lead to 3-1.  It was Crosby’s 20th goal of the year.

Only 49 seconds later, Pascal Dupuis fired a backhander that Legace stopped, but Rupp grabbed the rebound, swung around to the left slot, and fired a wrister that somehow squirted between the pads of Legace and into the net, making it 3-2 Canes.

The Penguins were the more aggressive team in the third period, although you wouldn’t know by looking at the shot chart, with the Pens only leading the shot chart 7-6 in the third period.  The Pens attempted a late flurry in the waning minutes, but it wasn’t to be.

Notes:
- Another gooseegg for the Pens’ powerplay, going 0-for-3.
- Once again, Evgeni Malkin was only awarded one giveaway, but geez, he is giving away some significant shots on goal, most of which could be decent scoring chances.  For some reason, he is intent on making that extra no-look pass.  I know, I know, when those passes connect they look spectacular.  But it’s frustrating for him to watch him turn the puck over like that.
- Matt Cooke led the Pens with four hits.
- Another sign of a lackluster effort tonight: Only four blocked shots for the Pens tonight.

The Pens now travel to Montreal to face the Habs on Thursday night.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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