The Penguins play a risky type of game. Quite often they show up when they want too and a lot of times in the regular season their skill will win out but that wasn’t the case tonight and hasn’t been the case much since a few weeks before the Olympic Break.
The Penguins put on an extremely poor performance in a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Pittsburgh came out dominating the first 10 minutes of play, leading the Hurricanes 1-0 on a goal from Chris Kunitz and outshooting Carolina 12-1 around the mid-point of the first period.
The last 50 minutes of the game the Penguins decided to take the night off. Carolina would score four unanswered goals, en route to the 4-1 win and the issues were more than just a poor work ethic, battle level from the Penguins. They could barely manage the puck that it was like watching high school hockey at times.
“They played aggressive and we just seemed to play into their hands a bit,” Sidney Crosby said….. “We played a dangerous game and that hurt us….For whatever reason we got away from our game. Maybe we thought that came easy or we could get away with cheating.”
Eric Staal and others in the Hurricanes room felt the Hurricanes were able to frustrate the Penguins tonight and not let the Penguins get into a fast paced game.
“We wanted to come in and try to play a 1-0 mentality type game,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. “Wanted to get all the pucks behind their D and make them to stop in their zone. Stop them from getting their flow into the game and getting their centers from driving into the middle which they love. Thought we did a good job of puck management.”
Afterwards head coach Dan Bylsma cited that the game could have been 3-0 Pittsburgh in the first 10 minutes of the game as the Penguins came out of the gates flying but when you show up to play for only 10-12 minutes of a 60 minute game, it’s going to be a bad night against anybody in this league.
“We started mis-managing the puck, having turnovers in the neutral zone,” Bylsma said of what went wrong for the Penguins.
As expected, some key veterans in the room were critical of the Penguins lack of effort which has been a consistent on most nights through the last couple weeks.
“Our effort last 50 minutes was unacceptable, 1-20,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “Effort was very questionable for everybody.
“You see guys out there like Skinner and Gerbe who aren’t biggest guys and they’re pushing us around winning battles,” Orpik said. “Every guy was getting beat to loose pucks and battles.”