The story for Carolina lartely has been the team playing well at even strength but the powerplay stumbling and costing them the game. In tonight's 4-2 loss against the Penguins, it was a different story. Carolina came out strong and outplayed Pittsburgh for the first 20 minutes but couldn't score. Then the Pens woke up and Carolina was outchanced 18-6 at even strength for the last two periods and ended up taking the loss. It could have been a lot worse had it not been for the powerplay which generated 8 total chances, scored a goal and could have had at least one more. The Canes were given a 5-on-3 (eventually 6-on-3 w/ Boucher pulled) late in the game and could have tied the game there but the bounces weren't going their way. Jussi Jokinen had an open net to shoot at with 17 seconds left but, unfortunately, the shot went right off the post and goaltender Brent Johnson was able to cover it before anyone could get to the rebound. That's just the way things were going.
It would have been nice for the Canes to get at least a point out of this one but they were only the better team for 20 minutes tonight. If their effort from the first period carried over for the rest of the game then maybe they wouldn't have needed a six-on-three powerplay to help them try to tie things up. That's just the way things go when you're one of the worst teams in the league playing against one of the best.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes 12/03/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Hurricanes scoring chances are in red, Penguins are in white
Like I said, great first period from Carolina and it looked like they could really jump ahead of the Penguins early but Johnson played very well. Their great play didn't carry over into the second period where the Pens doubled them up in scoring chances but Carolina wasn't too hurt from this because it was still a tie game entering the third period. This is where the Hurricanes could have taken control of the game but instead, they allowed eight unanswered chances and two goals to put themselves into a hole. The good news is that this seemed to wake-up the powerplay as they were able get back into the game because of that but that still doesn't excuse their effort at even strength. It was definitely a disappointing showing from them after the first period but at least the powerplay did their job...they just couldn't finish.
I should also mention the the refs kind of helped us out in a couple spots but mainly with James Neal's goal being waved off. Yes, that was goaltender interference but they initially ruled it a goal on the ice and I was under the impression that goalie interference is not reviewable. My guess is that one official thought it was goalie interference and they waved it off based on that. Had to be frustrating for Penguins fans since that could have cost them a point but it didn't have that much of an effect in the end.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Alexei Ponikarovsky EVEN
Worst EV Forward: Eric Staal -5
Best EV Defensemen: Joni Pitkanen & Jamie McBain EVEN
Worst EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason -6
The Canes were playing 11 forwards and 7 defensemen tonight with Tim Brent being a late scratched, which led to Eric Staal being double shifted with the first and fourth lines and look what happened. The first line was Carolina's most offensively active line but they gave up a lot in their own end, as well. Three of their total chances came in the first period and they were held quiet at even strength after that.
LaRose hasn't had a good week and his performance at even strength didn't help him at all. Ponikarovsky ended up being the highest rated forward here because he was one of the few who created a decent amount of chances without getting shelled in his own end. The third line has also been pretty brutal as of late as they couldn't get any offense going at all. Stewart did a good job at getting to the front of the net on Jamie McBain's role but he was mostly irrelevant in the game. Andreas Nodl has yet to be on ice for a Carolina scoring chance in three games. I know he's played limited ice time but that's a scary stat.
I heard and saw all of the praise for how Justin Faulk played against the Malkin line but the reality is, he didn't play that well. Him and Gleason were on ice for 10 of the Penguins scoring chances at even strength and he was crushed territorially. This has been ongoing for awhile now and I think it would be a good idea to cut down on his assignments a little bit. He's an offensive defenseman and could probably benefit from not playing against other team's top lines every night. Granted, Carolina had two tough lines they had to deal with tonight but I stand by this statement. The problem with this is that we have so many offensive-minded defensemen on the roster that one of them has to take on the tough assignments and Faulk's a better option than Kaberle and Joslin right now.
Pitkanen and McBain both played really well tonight and they had the task of shutting down Sidney Crosby, which didn't happen but they were a least able to neutralize him a little bit. McBain is making a strong case to stay in the lineup and hopefully won't be a healthy scratch for awhile. I don't see how you can sit him while he's managing to keep his head above water while guys like Kaberle and Joslin are sinking with easier assignments. Also, if anyone wants to give me a reason as to why Bryan Allen has been used so little after outperforming the rest of the defense for most of the season then I would love to hear it. He played the second least minutes out of any defenseman tonight and wasn't matched up with anyone.
Head-to-Head at 5-on-5
Derek Engelland had to leave the game sometime in the third period so Dan Bylsma juggled his defense pairings a bit which made the stats look a little odd here. Martin seemed to play well without him though as he won most of his matchups no matter who he was paired with or put up against. Pitkanen/McBain were the only Carolina defense pairing to win more than one of their matchups as a unit and even they were outplayed by Crosby's line. Gleason/Faulk could not do anything to slow down the Pens first two lines and most of the damage they inflicted came after the first period. The third line lost all but one of their matchups and were ineffective as a unit. Most of Pittsburgh's defensemen played very well last night with the main exception being Matt Niskanen who couldn't contain either of our top two lines. Eric Staal had one of his weaker games in recent memory as the only matchup he won was against Niskanen & the Pens fourth line and he was being double-shifted so he saw plenty of everyone. Is it just me or do other teams shelter their third defense pairing a hell of a lot better than we do? Carolina did next to nothing to take advantage of Robert Bortuzzo or Simon Despres aside from a couple of chances against the latter.
|PIT||2||11:26||Adams - GOAL||5||23||27||33||36||59||1||14||27||41||44||87||5v5|
|CAR||2||1:19||McBain - GOAL w/ traffic in front||4||12||13||25||33||53||1||2||12||27||44||45||5v5|
|PIT||3||11:27||Asham - GOAL||5||12||15||33||51||53||1||7||11||27||41||45||5v5|
|PIT||3||10:00||Dupuis - GOAL||6||28||33||36||59||1||2||9||44||71||4v4|
|CAR||3||7:31||McBain - GOAL rebound||4||23||25||33||36||39||1||2||7||11||27||5v4|