The Penguins finally won. Yay. After three straight losses they were able to win what ended up being a pretty boring hockey game against a Carolina team that they had already beat earlier this season and you know what, who cares. Boring wins and exciting wins all count the same just as a close loss counts the same as a blowout loss.
The Penguins really came out and dominated the game from the onset. They had nine shots before the Hurricanes even got one on goal but as has been the case in the most recent string of games they were never able to build that multiple goal lead. You can hold a team to as few shots as possible but if you are only leading 1-0 it only takes one shot to tie it up and that is a scary thing. For as much as the Penguins dominated they were still only one shot away from a new game.
The Penguins were in this position but it really wasn't that Carolina was any good, it was that the Penguins wanted to take unlimited penalties. Carolina got on the board with like their third shot of the game since the Penguins decided to play undisciplined hockey and give the Canes a 5-on-3. Yea, that was awesome. The Penguins gave the Canes five power plays on the night and for a team that only had 21 shots on the night and look pretty dreadful for much of the game you really don't want to give them all too many chances to be in the game.
The game was tied for some time as the Hurricanes actually played pretty well for much of the second period but it was Sidney Crosby who found Chris Kunitz at the 16:24 mark of the second period and that turned out to be the game winning goal. It was a sick play by Crosby who basically did all the work as he did a little stop and go and put a hard pass right on Kunitz's stick who just redirected it into the back of the net. The Penguins needed a play in the worst way and they got it from their best player.
Maybe the best player throughout the night tonight was Jayson Megna. In only his second game in the NHL Megna was noticeable every time he was on the ice and assisted on the first goal of the game by Tanner Glass and then all but put the game away with the third goal of the game in the third period. With as banged up as the Penguins have been they really need contributions from some of the lower lines and they got that from Megna. Not exactly what you want to rely on but tonight they got a victory and he was a huge part of it. I will take it.
Defensively the Penguins did a pretty nice job. They are going to be without Rob Scuderi for possibly four weeks and while that isn't ideal it is nice that they have a guy like Robert Bortuzzo on the sideline who has played pretty well this season. He was paired with Olli Maatta and those two have played some good hockey. Brooks Oprik and Paul Martin has been a good top shutdown pair and while the defense was good Orpik had a three assist game for the second time in his career and the first time since 2010. Kris Letang is still working into shape so when he finally gets back to shape things are going to be even better. As I said Carolina had only 21 shots and the defensive core was doing a nice job of keeping the crease and slot free, for the most part.
The negative tonight was really the special teams. The power play hasn't looked good at all the past week and they were barely even able to set up in the Carolina zone tonight while the penalty kill looked pretty bad. I talked about how the defense was good at keeping the front of the cage clean but on the PK the Canes were able to get guys in the slot, and open, almost at will. The Penguins are lucky they were trailing in this game.
Anyways, a win is a win and after three straight losses and a big time matchup against the Bruins on Wednesday this is exactly what the Penguins needed right now.