Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-2 win over Carolina...
* This won't go down as one of the most entertaining games the Pens have played this season. Thanks to a ton of stoppages - there were five faceoffs in the first 45 seconds alone! - the teams weren't able to establish much flow and there wasn't a lot of back-and-forth action. They both pretty much just put their heads down and grinded it out as best they could, and the Pens happened to be on the right side of the result.
* Welcome back, Jake Guentzel. He has two goals in as many games since returning to the lineup after recovering from a concussion, and both were virtually identical. Each time, Guentzel got himself in position on the back door where he found himself with the puck on his stick and a wide-open net. He got beautiful setups on each one - Friday against the NY Rangers it was Sidney Crosby; today it was Chad Ruhwedel.
* On Friday Guentzel's goal came two seconds after a Rangers penalty expired, while today it came on a power play. The Pens had been struggling to get into a rhythm on the power play with different personnel in and out of the lineup, but Guentzel has certainly helped get it going again. The Pens ended up with two power-play goals on the night against one of the best PKs in the league, as Carolina's is ranked fourth. They took advantage of Carolina's aggressiveness and were able to get wide open.
* When Scott Wilson first turned pro, he told me that Pens management wanted him to model his style of play after Chris Kunitz. They wanted him to play that straight-line, north-south game that involved getting in on the forecheck and getting to the front of the net. Well, tonight Wilson netted a Kunitz-like goal when he crashed the crease and was able to jam in a rebound. It was Wilson's first goal since March 1 at Chicago. And with Kunitz out longer-term with a lower-body injury, they'll need Wilson to keep playing that same way.
* The Pens had gotten into the bad habit of allowing goals late in games, something they wanted to rectify here today. They did so in a tough situation, as the Canes pressed hard as they're battling for their playoff lives and had three power plays in the last 10-plus minutes to boot. But Matt Murray and his teammates stood strong and were able to close this out in regulation.