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3 Impressions: Pens 4, Canes 2

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 4-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.

1. Selke Sid
Much is made of Sidney Crosby’s offensive talents. And that brilliance was on display with a ho, hum, 2-goal performance that gave him his 7th career 30-goal season (31 total) and extended his scoring streak to 10 games (6G-10A-16PTS). But as brilliant as he was in the offensive zone, and he was, he was even better in the defensive zone. Crosby’s stick check on Elias Lindholm prevented him from shooting what would have been an easy tap-in goal. Crosby laid out on the ice to defend a 2-on-1 and spun around the block the attempted pass. Crosby put on a defensive clinic worthy of the Selke.

2. Calming the Storm
Goaltender Matt Murray hadn’t started since March 6 and he looked a little rusty at the start (though his defense did not give him much help). The Hurricanes scored 2 goals in the game’s first 5:10 minutes, including the opening tally just 43 seconds after puck drop. Both goals were defensive breakdowns and came on clean shots from the slot. Although they both were high quality, each went 5-hole and certainly Murray would want back. But he rebounded remarkably. He made a stop on Nathan Gerbe on a 2-on-0 (yes, 2-on-0), had a fantastic glove stop on Michal Jordan and denied Riley Nash on a cross-ice one-timer. Murray kept the game from getting out of hand, and the Pens clawed back to victory thanks to their tender.

3. Response
 The Pens looked horrible in the opening minutes of the game. They were responsible for several bad giveaways that lead to high-quality scoring chances for the Canes – 2 of which they converted. The Pens knew this game would be a must-win for Carolina, and didn’t want to overlook the Canes. But they began sloppy in their passing, decision making and effort. The result was a 2-0 deficit just 5:10 into the game. But the Pens regrouped and took over the game. They put up 22 shots in the first period and scored the game’s next 4 goals. They didn’t fold. They didn’t quit. They showed resolve, which has been a staple of this team’s identity ever since head coach Mike Sullivan has been in charge.

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