Everything you need to know from the Penguins' 3-2 victory over Carolina: FRANTIC FINISH
The toughest task in all of hockey is protecting a one-goal lead in the final minutes of the third period.
Now consider that the game is on the road.
Now consider that the Penguins were killing a penalty.
Now consider that the Penguins were shorthanded by two men.
Now consider that Carolina pulled their goaltender and had an extra skater, creating a 6-on-3 scenario.
Now consider that the Penguins’ three best penalty killing forwards were not available to them.
Add all that up and you have the worst-case scenario when trying to win a hockey game with a one-goal lead late in the third period.
But thanks to a colossal effort by the Penguins, they were able to fend off the surging ‘Canes and their shooting gallery to preserve a 3-2 victory at RBC Center. READ MORE ABOUT THE FRANTIC FINISH BY CLICKING HERE...
The Penguins expected the Hurricanes to be a desperate squad in their third game with a new head coach. And Carolina certainly didn’t disappoint, coming out fast and strong from the drop of the puck.
Luckily, Pittsburgh had the capable Brent Johnson
between the pipes to make sure none of that energy and passion translated into a Hurricanes victory.
“’Johnny’ was great. He made some huge saves for us at different times of the game,” Adams said.
Johnson, who played his 300th career game on Saturday, made 30 saves in the Pens’ 3-2 victory – including five key stops during the final 2:04 of play, where the Hurricanes had a 5-on-3 advantage (6-on-3 with a pulled goalie).
“Obviously the last two, two-and-a-half minutes was a shooting gallery,” Adams continued. “He came up huge.”
Johnson’s most impressive save came with 17.2 seconds left when Jussi Jokinen’s shot hit the post, deflected off his skate and bounced the blade of a waiting Eric Staal – where ‘Johnny’ didn’t allow him to get the shot off by flopping on his back and covering the puck with his shoulder.
“’Johnny’ made an unbelievable save there,” Dupuis said.
Johnson said after the game he knew he would be able to get to the puck in time. It was a save that he desperately wanted to make after already experiencing a few unlucky goals in his six prior starts this season.
“Things hadn’t been going very well,” Johnson said. “Like the last game in Florida, I put one in off my arm. So I wanted to make sure I had it, and I did.”
SPREADING THE WEALTH
If the Penguins keep spreading out their offense like they did against Carolina, they’re going to continue to be a tough team to beat.
Pittsburgh’s fourth line produced a pair of goals against the Hurricanes, while Pascal Dupuis
chipped in with the game winner to give the Penguins a 3-2 win.
Adams opened up the scoring in a first period dominated by the Hurricanes while on the ice with Sidney Crosby
and Chris Kunitz
On the play, defenseman Bryan Allen made a sliding block on Kunitz’ shot, which is when Crosby swept in, grabbed the rebound and headed to the blue line surrounded by three 'Canes.
He then dished a gorgeous, no-look backhand to Adams’ wheelhouse, who one-timed it past Boucher for the score.
However, Adams and his linemates Asham and Park were on the ice for Carolina’s tying goal with just 1:19 left in the period – which inspired them to get payback in the third.
“We weren’t feeling too good after we gave up the goal there – we were on the ice for their goal at the end of the second period,” Adams said. “So to come out there and get one for us in the third was something we could feel good about.”Paul Martin
made a beautiful stretch pass to Adams in the neutral zone. He carried in and dished a cross-ice feed to Asham – who wound up and sent a bullet past Boucher.
Just 1:22 later, Dupuis would give the Penguins what would turn out to be a huge goal when he stuffed home a rebound (that had gotten to the cage by deflecting off his skate).
“Nice effort by ‘Geno’ holding onto the puck and going to the net,” Dupuis said. “I tried to kick it to (Matt Niskanen
) there in front and it came back on my stick. I just tried to jam it home and it went.”
STAAL, ENGELLAND LEAVE GAME
Both Staal and Deryk Engelland
left Saturday’s game with injuries, and neither returned to finish the game.
Staal left the ice with about three minutes left in the third when Tomas Kaberle’s attempted pass deflected up and struck him in the face. Staal instantly went to his knees with his face bloodied and was helped off the ice by a pair of teammates and athletic trainer Chris Stewart. He did not return.
“At this point, Jordan just had a cut under the eye,” Bylsma said. “I’m sure they’ll be looking at it and making sure he’s fine structural-wise.”
Engelland took his last shift – one that lasted 26 seconds – with 1:12 remaining in the second period. He did not return for the third period with a lower-body injury.
“Deryk had a lower-body injury and at this point, just waiting to get back to Pittsburgh to see kind of where he’s at with that,” Bylsma said.
LETANG AND MICHALEK UPDATES
Bylsma also gave updates on Kris Letang
and Zbynek Michalek
, who both did not play for the second-straight game – Letang with a broken nose, Michalek with headache symptoms.
“They both have taken imPACT tests. Both have done fine on the imPACT tests,” Bylsma said. “Kris still has some symptoms, but considering the facial injury and dealing with a broken nose, we’re kind of waiting to see on those symptoms. ‘Z’ had a day without symptoms today, so he’s progressing and we’ll see how that turns out for Sunday and the next day.”
When asked if they would be ready for Monday’s game vs. Boston, Bylsma responded, “I think Zbynek is much farther down the road to recovery than Kris.”
Author: Michelle Crechiolo