The Pittsburgh Penguins were admonished by head coach Mike Sullivan during practice on Monday. Admonished is probably too kind. The coach put his boots to the team before colorful four-letter word ended the rant. Tuesday night, Sidney Crosby carried the team through an otherwise wanting performance and the overall results were not significantly different than the practice as the Penguins lost at home against the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-0.
The statistics showed a much more competitive game than the scoreboard. The coach even referenced the total scoring chances, which were kind to the Penguins as well. However, the thousands of fans sprinted for their car with over seven minutes remaining told the complete story.
“I didn’t think tonight there was any sort of circumstance where we were under siege. There wasn’t an exorbitant amount of shots taken. I thought, for the most part, we defended pretty hard,” Sullivan said.
It’s hard to put the game into full context because the Penguins were primarily down to two lines: Sidney Crosby with two sets of wingers, and Matt Cullen with the fourth line. However, Cullen’s line played less than 10 minutes. So, the Penguins offense was Crosby’s line..and Crosby’s other line.
The Penguins did have more scoring chances, 21-17 but 12 of those chances came when Crosby was on the ice. Crosby was also on the ice for six of the Penguins’ eight high-danger chances. The Penguins second line–Tanner Pearson-Nick Bjugstad-Phil Kessel–had exactly zero high-danger chances and only three scoring chances.