The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes in regulation, 3-1, Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena. It was an important two points, without ceding a loser point to a team directly behind them in the Eastern Conference standings. However, the Penguins were not at their best. The Hurricanes beat the Penguins soundly, twice previously, and again got the better of the Penguins on Tuesday. But, the scoreboard reflected Penguins rookie goaltender Casey DeSmith outplaying counterpart Cam Ward.
The Penguins kids scored, but the same defensive issues continue to pop up.
#1 Ryan Bulldozed While Penguins Dosed
So much misery on this play. First, Jake Guentzel lost his stick which opened the right flank. Matt Hunwick needlessly dumped Lee Stempniak in front, which drew a delayed penalty. Inexplicably, Hunwick quit playing after the orange armband reached for the sky.
Lastly, Derek Ryan overpowered Jake Guentzel twice. Guentzel had body position on Ryan, but could not enforce it. Ryan went through Guentzel to get the first shot. Hunwick could have–and should have–helped, too. Hunwick didn’t even turn around. Bizarre.
#2 Simon Says: Softy
Cam Ward misplayed it. No question about it. A 30-foot wrister from Dominik Simon shouldn’t tickle the twine. Ward appeared ready to glove it. But didn’t.
The play itself was vintage Penguins. Kris Letang won a footrace to the puck and moved it ahead on the wall. The great subtlety on this play–watch Sidney Crosby. Conor Sheary’s quick touch pass was intercepted by Justin Williams, but Crosby created a turnover and pass in the same motion.
From deep in his own zone, Simon created speed out of the zone and through the neutral zone. Simon was in full flight before Crosby put the puck on his stick. That speed forced Brett Pesce to yield ice to the much smaller Simon.
#3 Just Watch Dea’s Celly!
Tom Kuhnhackl extended to poke the puck ahead to center. Someone must have yelled “break!”, because all three Penguins forwards then made a beeline for the net. The speed of the fourth line, Kuhnhackl-Dea-Rust, won every race on this shift.
After Kuhnhackl swatted the puck to center, Rust raced down the wall, into the Hurricanes zone. J.S. Dea also raced towards the net. Jeff Skinner didn’t stay with Dea and Dea was wide-open in front. A quick pass and quick one-timer. Enjoy the celly, kid! Dea’s first in the NHL:
#4 Tic-Tac-Toe Guentzel
It boggles the mind why Riley Sheahan doesn’t assert himself more in the offensive zone. It’s just a beautiful tic-tac-toe play which was set up by Riley Sheahan’s superior hustle and strength. The puck was gone before it settled on either Phil Kessel’s stick or Jake Guentzel’s blade.
Defensive Miscues– Casey DeSmith Saves
Olli Maatta couldn’t keep the puck in the zone. Jordan Staal overpowered Patric Hornqvist through center ice. Then, Phil Kessel shorted his defensive responsibility. Kessel chased the puck, despite Hornqvist’s position, which left Staal alone.
DeSmith made a pair of big saves. Huge saves!
More Defensive Oops
Jeff Skinner is a fast forward. Skinner is lightning quick. However, when given the chance, Penguins forward Riley Sheahan allows Skinner two clean whacks at DeSmith. That’s generally not good.