Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1

Canes lose third straight as Penguins win 3-1 in Raleigh

calexander@newsobserver.comOctober 28, 2013 

— One losing streak had to end. Another had to continue.

That’s what was facing the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday at PNC Arena. One team would leave the ice happy and relieved and the other searching for answers.

The Penguins won 3-1, ending a three-game losing streak. The Canes lost their third in a row, falling to 4-5-3 and dropping five points behind the Pens, who lead the Metropolitan Division.

Sidney Crosby, as he so often is, was the Pens’ leader. While rookie forward Jayson Megna was named the game’s first star after scoring his first NHL goal and adding an assist, Crosby again was the game’s biggest star.

Crosby’s crisp cross-ice pass set up Chris Kunitz for the winning goal late in the second period. His shot early in the third glanced off Megna and past Canes goalie Justin Peters for a 3-1 lead.

“They’ve got a lot of guys who have been to the (Stanley Cup) finals and played in big games,” Canes coach Kirk Muller said. “In the third period, when they got the lead, they know how to play the game and shut teams down.

“But I’m more concerned that we kind of got pushed out of the game. They played a heavier game than we did. They won more battles and they grinded it harder and their big boys at the end of the night were on the score sheet.”

Crosby entered the game as the NHL’s top scorer with 18 points. But defenseman Brooks Orpik was the Pens’ top scorer Monday with three assists while Tanner Glass had a first-period goal.

The Canes’ goal came from Nathan Gerbe on a 5-on-3 power play in the first period, which ended 1-1. Gerbe, playing his 200th career game, took a pass in the slot from Elias Lindholm – who notched his first NHL assist – and beat Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

But that was it. The Canes had other chances but couldn’t finish as Fleury closed with 20 saves and the Pens’ defense was active and positionally sound.

Glass struck first on the rebound of a Megna shot after Crosby won a faceoff to Orpik, who whipped a pass to Megna breaking down the right wing. On the Pens’ second goal, Kunitz won a race against the Canes’ Jordan Staal to one-time the puck past Peters for his fifth of the season.

“Their big boys came up big and some of our guys have to start contributing,” Muller said.

Muller put Gerbe on the top line with Eric Staal and Semin, and Gerbe had five of the Canes’ 21 shots. Semin, who extended his point streak to four games, had three shots and another five attempts that either were blocked or missed the net.

“Sometimes we got away from our game, but overall I thought we played well, but we have to score on our chances and power plays,” Gerbe said.

The Canes received a scare in the third period when Jordan Staal collided with Kunitz, spun and fell to the ice. Staal was helped to the dressing room but soon returned to the game.

But the Pens (8-4-0) were in charge by then. Defenseman Rob Scuderi missed the game with an injury, but Orpik, Paul Martin, rookie Olli Maatta and others on the back end were quick with their sticks, and Crosby was everywhere on the ice.

“They’re a tough team. They lock it down pretty well,” Canes defenseman Ron Hainsey said. “For everyone who thinks they’re as offensive as they are, you saw that once they take a little bit of a lead, they don’t take too many chances.”

The Canes played without top scorer Jeff Skinner, out a second game with an upper-body injury. Skinner may return Friday against Tampa Bay, Muller said.

“We’re not giving up much,” Muller said “It’s just when we do … the good players capitalize on us. We need more from other people as well. Certain guys are there to produce but there are other guys who have to start bringing something to the table.

“When you play a team like Pittsburgh, you can’t play an average game. You’ve got to bring more. We were light tonight.”

See the box score from this game.

Alexander: 919-829-8945

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service