Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet gives you his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins’ 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
1. The play of Thomas Greiss. He’s done a really nice job coming in and playing. It’s a back-to-back game. He did a nice job. Made the stops. When Carolina came at us he was good.
2. Offense from our D with (Christian) Ehrhoff and (Robert) Bortuzzo. That’s really nice when you get offense from your D. I thought they played really well.
3. To me it was a character win. We knew we didn’t have the greatest effort against Carolina (last night). We’ve done a nice job all year bouncing back after losses. That really tells you a lot about your team. I really liked the effort after a loss. Good character win.
Sam Kasan gives his three takeaways from the press box.
The Pens have been no stranger to injuries this season. The team is already playing without wingers Beau Bennett and Pascal Dupuis. An injury to Marcel Goc in last night’s game meant they were without him as well, though head coach Mike Johnston said that the injury appeared to be only a bruise and not a fracture. Before the game began against Carolina they lost another player to injury. Defenseman Kris Letang did not play due to a minor lower-body injury. The Pens have suffered 39 man-games lost to injury this season.
2. Next Man Up
The Pens’ injuries have really tested the team’s depth. So far they’ve responded. Andrew Ebbett was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the morning and made a seamless transition into the fourth line in place of Goc. Blueliner Robert Bortuzzo got back in the lineup in place of Letang and made an impact in the game. With the game tied at 1-1, Bortuzzo carried the puck down the neutral zone as the Penguins went for a change. Instead of dumping the puck he skated it through three Hurricanes, who appeared to get out of his way and give him a free lane. He zipped home a wrist shot for the go-ahead goal.
3. Kunitz Breaks the Drought
Winger Chris Kunitz, a 30-goal scorer in the NHL, has gone 11 straight games without a tally. The scoring drought came after Kunitz buried five goals in a three-game span. Kunitz finally broke through. Evgeni Malkin made a nice centering pass and Kunitz obliterated a one-timer into the far side of the goal. To make it even sweeter, the goal tied the game at 1-1 just 17 seconds after Carolina took the lead.