3.26.24 Recap

PITTSBURGH, PA. - In the words of Rod Brind'Amour, the Carolina Hurricanes "were flat" Tuesday, falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-1.

Recap: Hurricanes at Penguins 3.26.24

Guentzel's Return To The Steel City...

Entering tonight's action the Canes had their first opportunity to clinch a berth in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Although they would have needed some help from a few other clubs to make it happen, the postseason spot feels more of a matter when than if.

When the puck went down, a low-event first period quickly whistled by, but that turned out to be part of the problem for Carolina.

While the Penguins didn't generate a ton offensively, the Canes viewed their inability to get the game's first goal as a missed opportunity.

Instead, the affair moved to the second period scoreless.

Scoring In The Second...

After what could be described as a sleepy start, business picked up to start the second period.

Just 2:41 into the stanza, former Hurricane Jesse Puljujarvi kicked off the scoring for the home side.

Serving as a spark for Carolina, their game came alive thereafter.

The contest started to trend in the Canes' direction although they trailed, but in total, they wound up playing from behind for under nine minutes.

Dmitry Orlov threw one on from the point and the group got the bounce they needed, as it ricocheted off of a Pittsburgh defender and past another former Hurricane, Alex Nedeljkovic, to even the game.

From there, momentum was just about all in Carolina's favor for the rest of the period.

Or so it seemed.

With 1:51 to go in the period, Sidney Crosby won a clean faceoff back to winger Bryan Rust, who quickly snapped home the go-ahead goal.

Battled To The Finish...

Trailing by one with 20 minutes on the clock, Carolina found themselves knocking on the door of an equalizer, but unfortunately, it never came.

Canes players pointed to a lack of Grade A scoring opportunities as a problem post-game, allowing Nedeljkovic to stack save after save.  He went on to finish the night with 39 stops on 40 shots, securing the win for his team.

The Penguins added two empty netters before the final horn, closing out the game's final at 4-1.

They Said It

Rod Brind'Amour giving his assessment of things...

"We couldn't score.  We didn't get to the net.  After the first period we actually played pretty good, it's just a weird game.  The second period, I thought, was pretty solid overall, but we gave up two.  We didn't really get enough at the net.  We were a little light around that area.  We put up some good shots, but not enough traffic and we made it an easy night for them."

Jordan Staal with a similar viewpoint...

"It wasn't a great first.  Beyond the kills, it was kind of pretty slow.  We started to get to our game a bit (after that).  We put up enough shots, but it wasn't really too many Grade A (chances).  Not enough net traffic to create havoc and create those second opportunities.  We were okay.  We weren't what we can be and the way we want to play.  It was not a great start.  We were behind the eight ball after that."

Jake Guentzel on his return to Pittsburgh...

"It's special to be back here, where you kind of grew up.  A lot of good memories in this rink, in this building and in this city... You look back on all the memories you've had here and it's just a cool little touch that they do (with the tribute video)."

What's Next?

The Canes are scheduled to fly back to Raleigh immediately post-game. They'll then practice on Wednesday and take on the Detroit Red Wings at home on Thursday.