ON THE PENGUINS 4-2 LOSS TO HURRICANES
Pittsburgh’s 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night was nothing more than just another November game but there’s been one consistent for the Penguins over the past week in that they’re being outworked.
No coaches or Penguins players in the room afterwards could admit that the Penguins worked hard in Friday’s loss to Carolina as the Penguins found out the Hurricanes aren’t Buffalo bad.
It was a game where the Hurricanes owned the territorial edge, outshooting Pittsburgh 35-22 and 5 v 5 had 52 shot attempts to the Penguins 33, with the Penguins posting a lowly Corsi percentage of 38.8 at even strength.
“There was no effort…. They out-battled and outworked us,” Kris Letang told reporters afterwards.
“They outworked us,” Sidney Crosby added. “That’s something that can’t happen.”
Against an inferior team, this was a game where the Penguins were just one shot away from turning the tide and that’s what happened late in the second period when Patric Hornqvist blistered a shot from above the right circle past Cam Ward to tie the game at 2-2 with 4:08 left in the period.
However, the Penguins just could never find that other gear like they normally can against an inferior team.
The Hurricanes played disciplined and didn’t make the mistake of putting the Penguins on the man advantage late and Pittsburgh’s problem is you have to work to get power plays and that’s a primary reason the Penguins have had a lack of power play opportunities over the past handful of games.
“If you’re going to get penalty calls, you have to earn them,” Penguins head coach Mike Johnston said. “You have to work and you have to be quick to the net, quick to the corners. Force the defense to hook you or hold you.”
One scout noted prior to Friday’s game, there is enough tape on the Penguins now where teams appear to be defending them much better through the neutral zone which could be playing a part in the Penguins lower shot usage of late.
The effectiveness of the Penguins zone entries have been down compared to the first four to five weeks of the season.
NOTABLE PLAYER ASSESSMENTS
Olli Maatta – Christian Ehrhoff | Maatta and Ehrhoff were pinned in their own zone for most of the game. At 5 v 5, Maatta had a minus-19 corsi rating, on the ice for 6 shot attempts and 25 against. Ehrhoff had a minus-20 corsi rating, on the ice for 8 shot attempts and 28 against.
Craig Adams | In just 5:59 of ice time 5 v 5, Adams struggled mightily and had a key turnover in the neutral zone, leading to Patric Dwyer’s second period goal. Playing with 11 forwards for much of the game, the coaching staff used Zach Sill more often than Adams 5 v 5, especially in the final 25-30 minutes of the game.
Blake Comeau | Comeau is in one of those stretches that players get in where the puck just follows them. Comeau was again one of the few bright spots, tied for the team lead in shots with 5 and was robbed by Cam Ward in the first period. Comeau’s 8 shot attempts were a game high.
Alex Semin | Semin was pointless in the win for Carolina, but had excellent possession numbers, on the ice for 27 shot attempts and 5 against, posting an 84.4 CF%.