PENGUINS 2 – CAROLINA 1
Penguins snap losing Streak: Brandon Sutter (8) scored with a 1:48 left in regulation, netting the game winning goal in the Penguins 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night. Sutter’s 8th of the season came from in the slot off a setup from Beau Bennett who had two assists in the win. The Penguins snapped a four game losing streak with the victory and improved to 23-9-5, 51 pts, on the season. Chris Kunitz (11) also scored in the win and Marc Andre Fleury made 24 saves to earn his 20th win of the season.
- — Beau Bennett made an immediate impact in his return to the lineup, picking up two primary assists and was among the Penguins best possession players 5 v 5 with a corsi +/- of ’13’ (22 CF, 9 CA), tops among forwards. Distributing the puck is Bennett’s strength and that was on display tonight. His iron man streak is now at one.
- — Bryan Rust indecisiveness to move the puck quickly continues to be an area he needs to improve on. Rust, though, did not seem overwhelmed playing with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby on the top line tonight, and while he needs to move the puck more quickly at times, especially in the neutral zone, Rust wasn’t trying to force the puck to those two when he shouldn’t, which was a positive to see from a young player. Rust had six shots on goal, tops among forwards, and missed a prime scoring opportunity from the slot on a setup from Crosby just prior to the Sutter goal.
- — The Penguins power play woes continued with an 0-for-3 night and managed just four power play shots. The Penguins are now 3 for their last 51, and the top unit has been so poor of late, Nick Spaling (3:01) and Brandon Sutter (3:01) were awarded with more power play time than Sidney Crosby (2:38) and Evgeni Malkin (2:53).
- Mike Johnston is a big believer in shots from the point on the power play and the Penguins need to get Christian Ehrhoff an extensive look with the top unit. He provides a similar booming shot from the point that Matt Niskanen provided last season.
- — Brandon Sutter’s third period goal was just his second goal in his last 17 games.
- — Pittsburgh outshot Carolina 39-25 and at even strength had 58 shot attempts to the Hurricanes 35. Pittsburgh owned the territorial play but gave up too many prime scoring chances. Marc Andre Fleury, the games No. 1 star, had to bail them out a number of times.