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Recap: Canes Blanked by Penguins

Canes can't solve Murray in 3-0 loss

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Carolina Hurricanes were shut out, 3-0, by Matt Murray and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Murray made 39 saves, Jake Guentzel scored twice and Sidney Crosby recorded a trio of assists, as the Pens handed the Canes their fourth regulation defeat of their last six games (1-4-1).

Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.

One

In a vacuum, this 3-0 defeat is a tough loss to a very good team with one of the best players in the world having a really good night on the ice.

But, this isn't a vacuum, and it's the latest entry in what has been a tough month of December for the Hurricanes (2-6-1).

"No one feels sorry for us, and we certainly don't feel sorry for ourselves," Brett Pesce said. "The bounces just aren't coming for us. We've just got to stick to the program, trust each other in this room and believe in each other."

Video: Hear from Foegele, van Riemsdyk, Brind'Amour Postgame

Two

The Hurricanes' shortcomings on offense are obviously magnified when they fail to score, and tonight's first period was no different.

After a dud of a power play, Warren Foegele skated in alone. A Penguins defender got a stick in on Foegele's skates, but he remained upright and was denied by Murray. A short time later, Foegele was turned away again by Murray on a partial breakaway.

Betwixt those two scoring opportunities, Dougie Hamilton rang a shot off the iron. It quite clearly had not gone in the net, but the official signaled for a goal. A short review, of course, reversed the call on the ice, but ending the play was a detriment to the Canes, who could have very easily scored in the chaos that followed the shot off the post.

Alas.

"Guys are trying to make plays," Pesce said. "I thought we were all over them in the first. I thought we could have had a few of them in the net."

"I know every guy in this room wants to score goals," Jordan Martinook said. "We're not trying not to score. It's just not going in for us right now."

"It was a great start for us, I felt. Engaged, for sure," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Unfortunately it was just like the other night where we probably deserved better in the first period."

Three

Speaking of the power play, it was ineffective for the Canes all night (0-for-4) and didn't register a shot on goal until the third period.

"Our power play was terrible," Brind'Amour said. "That's our best players. That's the time they need to make plays, and zero. That, to me, is where the momentum shifted."

Since his shot in the first period rang off the post, Hamilton had also had not recorded a shot on goal through two periods. He erased the two shot zeroes about halfway through the third period, when Murray was forced to make a shoulder save. Hamilton now has an NHL-best shot on goal streak of 199 games.

Four

Jordan Staal was ruled out of the third period with an upper-body injury. Brind'Amour said after the game that Staal had taken a hit to the head, which is obviously concerning for a player who just returned on Thursday after missing the previous five games with a concussion.

The Canes recalled Clark Bishop and Janne Kuokkanen following the game.

Five

On the Penguins' first goal, Bryan Rust was extremely close to being offside, so close that he was completely offside at first, only to stretch his left skate back to the blue line to tag up.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: Would be interested to see the reverse angle of this zone entry that led to the goal. Rust clearly slid offside but reached his left skate back to tag the blue line. I think he got there, but it was close. pic.twitter.com/22IBhvxmhh

My guess is that a reverse camera angle would have confirmed that he was indeed onside - from this overhead angle and the game camera angle, it's impossible to see his skate - but it was a close play. From there, Sidney Crosby worked his magic and continued to do so all night, as he recorded the primary assist on each of the three Pittsburgh goals.

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