A record was set last night at the Consol Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins recorded a total of 27 scoring chances in their 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which marks the highest count I have ever recorded for a single team. It could have been an overall record if the Hurricanes had more than 11 total chances but that wasn't the case. Last night's game was mostly a one-sided affair as the Penguins dominated Carolina and everything seemed to go wrong for the Canes outside from the play of goaltender Justin Peters. Making his first start of the season, Peters was thrown into the wolves having to stop 48 out of 52 shots and 23 of 27 scoring chances. Peters was heavily panned for his play last year with the Hurricanes but last night was one of his best performances despite giving up four goals. It could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for him and the Hurricanes owe him one big time.
Aside from Peters and Tuomo Ruutu's goal streak being extended, there isn't too much positive to write about with this game but we're going to dive deeper into it anyway.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins 12/27/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Pittsburgh's are in white
Remember how the third period is usually the problem for the Hurricanes? Well, they gave up three goals in the third last night but they also recorded more chances in that frame than they did for the rest of the game. Scoring effects is probably the reason for that. I'm surprised that we managed to keep the score tied in the second period because the ice was tilted in Pittsburgh's favor then, but Peters managed to keep the team in it. Unfortunately, the Pens eventually broke through to him and it was on their eighth and ninth consecutive scoring chance, which came at the beginning of the third period. Peters did all he could to keep the Hurricanes in this game but the rest of the team didn't pick up their end of the bargain and left him out to dry for about 50 minutes. They owe him a better performance in his next start.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Anthony Stewart EVEN
Worst EV Forward: Chad LaRose & Brandon Sutter -7
Best EV Defenseman: Jaroslav Spacek -1
Worst EV Defenseman: Jay Harrison -7
I know teams playing the second night of a back-to-back aren't going to have their legs but this is just ugly. No player had a positive rating and every defensemean had a negative rating. That is just brutal, but expected when you're outchanced 21-9 at even strength. I think the most disappointing thing here is how poorly the third line played, most notably Brandon Sutter and Chad LaRose. These two were given the most ice-time among forwards because they are trusted with their defensive play and LaRose was thought to be a solid replacement for Patrick Dwyer, but he clearly didn't look like it last night. They were given 14 defensive zone starts and assigned against the Malkin line so I was expecting them to be outchanced, but not this bad.
Interestingly enough, the defense pairing that saw the most of Malkin were Jay Harrison and Justin Faulk and they clearly didn't have their best game either. Gleason and McBain were not matched up with anyone in particular while Allen/Spacek were put up against the Jordan Staal line. It's going to be interesting to see how the defensive assignments will be split up in the next few games because the way they were jumbled around here didn't work at all.
Eric Staal had the strongest offensive game out of the forwards, which isn't too much of a surprise and neither is him getting outchanced. Neither of his linemates played that well with both Dalpe and Bowman being outchanced and neither creating much offense. The second line was pretty quiet too even if the Ruutu line produced a late goal. They were kept away from the tough assignments and they didn't take advantage of it. Anthony Stewart had one of his best games as a Hurricane and earned the extra ice-time.
Head-to-head at five-on-five
Simon Despres is clearly better than I thought he was...or he was given 12 offensive zone draws, not matched up with any line and got to play with a solid defensive d-man like Zbynek Michalek. Those two did play very well though as they outperformed our second defense pairing by a mile and didn't allow any of our lines to do anything. Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik on the other hand were a lot more vulnerable and our first line actually had some success against them.
In terms of success with matchups, Eric Staal did well against his brother's line and so did Allen and Spacek against the Kunitz-Malkin-Neal line. Aside from that, there isn't much else to say about this game. At least nothing positive because I could go on forever about the negatives.
Burn the tape.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20529
|CAR||1||9:37||Brent - GOAL||4||6||13||14||35||37||4||24||26||29||46||47||5v5|
|PIT||2||11:50||Neal - GOAL||5||6||15||23||35||36||4||14||18||29||47||71||5v5|
|PIT||3||18:42||Sullivan - GOAL||5||6||16||35||37||2||14||18||26||29||71||4v5|
|PIT||3||17:32||Dupuis - GOAL||12||21||22||28||35||44||4||9||11||29||44||48||5v5|
|CAR||3||5:07||Ruutu - GOAL||4||6||15||23||35||36||6||14||18||29||54||71||5v5|