The Pens weren't at their best in the first period and the Canes capitalized with two goals, one on the power play. That's really all it takes these days - get a multi-goal lead on the Pens and they're going to have trouble coming back.
Kovalev was great in his return. He may have been a bit too fired up, because he took two penalties in the offensive zone, one while the Pens were on the power play with less than three minutes left. He still has the hands, however. He sent several great passes onto the tape of his teammates. I think he'll work well when the Pens get closer to full strength.
The second two periods, despite the goal differential, were great Pens hockey. They were able to control the puck in the offensive zone for long periods of time. They just weren't able to get anything for their effort. No significant time on the power play, and just the one goal.
Results need to follow from the effort.
- Joe Vitale - 7-2 on faceoffs - another great effort. Dustin Jeffrey a close second at 5-1.
- Good job by HCDB in keeping the minutes down for just about everyone (only Letang was significantly over 20 minutes) and giving Flower the hook. The Pens need to be ready for tomorrow night.
- Cam Ward was sharp, to say the least.
- Great hit by Matt Cooke on Cory Stillman. He also drew a penalty when Jay Harrison took exception to a clean hit.
- Fleury probably wants those first period goals back.
- Hopefully Eric Staal isn't hurt from the hit by Niskanen. I don't think Niskanen was trying to hit him as hard as he did.
- This was a fairly clean game, without much nonsense. The Canes just capitalized on their chances and the Pens didn't. Nothing ugly about it.
- No - the Pens lack of scoring isn't a surprise at this point.
What's their record now? Any important move in the standings?
The Pens are now 36-21-6.
Toronto is at home waiting for the Pens to arrive. They play tomorrow night.