Carolina 1- Pittsburgh 4
The Penguins came away with a strong thrid period performance Thursday night vs. Carolina. Down a goal through 40 minutes, the Penguins poured it on scoring four goals in the final 20 minutes.
It took only 11 seconds for the Penguins to get their first scoring chance against the Canes. However, for Paul Bissonnette, that was not enough. Bissonnette dropped the gloves against Dan LaCouture only two minutes into the game in order to get his team fired up. Bissonnette continues to impress with his fierce personality, winning the fight to try to ignite his teammates.
The Penguins came out to a quick start controlling the puck well, and spent most of the time in the Carolina zone, but could not find a way to get the puck in the net. Many of those chances came from a struggling Ruslan Fedotenko. As for Carolina, backup goalie Michael Leighton got the nod to start over Cam Ward, and played well relative to the lack of defense displayed in front of him.
About midway through the period, Sidney Crosby was called for interference and Eric Staal for slashing, opening up for 4-on-4 hockey. As Brooks Orpik was looking to pass the puck out of the defensive zone, Brandon Sutter took advantage of a slow-moving puck and was left with an open chance on Marc-Andre Fleury. A quick backhand shot went over the left leg of Fleury and gave Sutter his first NHL goal.
Carolina GOAL- B. Sutter (1); Unassisted
Meanwhile, the Pens lost seven of the first eight faceoffs, but then won nine of the next twelve to end the first period.
The Penguins had to feel confident about their first period performance, creating many opportunities. Down one goal, they would need to find a way to regain the momentum in the second.
As expected, the Pen came out firing, out-shooting the Canes 7-0 through the first ten minutes of the 2nd.
An early tripping call on Sergei Samsonov gave the Pens their first power play chance of the game. The Pens had a few good chances against the 27th ranked penalty-killing unit, but still could not find a way to meet the twine.
Sidney Crosby had a great chance shooting from his knees midway through the period, as both Sid and Coach Michel Therrien looked for a hooking call on the play. No penalty was granted, which only motivated Crosby.
Fedotenko continued to impress by creating more chances and hustling throughout all of his shifts. I personally believe this was his best game as a Penguin.
Later in the period, a faceoff win by Carolina allowed Sergei Samsonov a good chance on a wrap-around play behind the net, but was stopped by a diving Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Pens out-shot the Canes 13-6 in the period; nevertheless, Leighton continued to look impressive through 40 minutes.
The Pens came out shooting again, and Leighton continued to astonish. His performance began to look similar to Dany Sabourin’s Monday night vs. Boston. Fortunately for the Pens, that would not last long.
A hooking call on Niclas Wallin gave the Pens there second power play chance of the night. Malkin took a slapshot from the point, which was redirected into the net for the first Pittsburgh goal. Initially, the goal was awarded to Malkin, insisting a deflection off a defenders stick, but was later given to Crosby as he created the deflection.
Pittsburgh GOAL- S. Crosby (2-PP); Assist- Malkin
Thirty-two seconds later, Ruslan Fedotenko scored his first, and well deserved, goal of the season. The puck was brought through the neutral zone by Petr Sykora, and passed up to Jordan Staal on the left side. The Canes’ defensemen bit on a fake shot by Staal, which left Fedotenko wide open for a shot on the right side. The Pens took a 2-1 lead with ten minutes left in the game.
Pittsburgh GOAL- R. Fedotenko (1); Assists- Staal, Sykora
Three minutes later, Tyler Kennedy passed the puck up through the neutral zone to a streaking Max Talbot, who slipped the puck between defenseman Dennis Seidenberg’s legs and lead to a breakaway as Talbot snuck the puck between the legs of Leighton for his first goal of the season. Is there a coincidence that Mad Max brought back the ‘Fu Manchu’ tonight and scored his first goal of the season?….I think not.
Pittsburgh GOAL- M. Talbot (1); Assist- Kennedy
The Pens had scored three goals in 3:36, putting the game out of reach for Carolina.
“We did what we do, we kept working and working and kept putting pucks on the net. When you have guys like Sid and Geno (Malkin), you know it’s going to go in.”
-Max Talbot (courtesy Penguins.com)
The Canes pulled Leighton late in the game, and with only a minute left, Marc-Andre Fleury played the puck behind the net, and took a 195-foot shot down the ice looking for his first NHL goal. The shot was close, missing just 4 feet wide left. The home crowd applauded his effort, leaving a smile on Fleury’s face. Nevertheless, Malkin got possession of the puck after the faceoff, and scored (what was initially his second goal) on an empty night.
Pittsburgh GOAL- E. Malkin (3-EN); Assists- Crosby, Scuderi
Game over. Pens win 4-1.
Shots: Pens-35, Canes-25
Faceoffs Wins: Pens-30, Canes-26
Three Stars: (1) Sidney Crosby, (2) Evgeni Malkin, (3) Max Talbot
The absence of Hal Gill did not seem to affect the Pens on defense, especially on the penalty kill. It is unknown whether he will be ready to play Saturday night at the NY Rangers. Matt Cooke also did not play, but may be ready to return for Saturday’s game.
Ruslan Fedotenko looked very impressive throughout the entire game. This was the player Penguins fans expected to see when he was signed as a free agent this off-season. He created chances early in the game, and you knew it was only a matter of time until he would score, and Pens fans would not have to wait long to see it. Hopefully this game will boost his confidence and we will continue to see this level of play.
~Dan @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk