Thoughts, musings, and observations from the Pens' 4-0 loss against the Hurricanes on 1980s Theme Night.
* The Pens faced goaltender Curtis McElhinney, who hadn't started in exactly three weeks. Of course, as seems to happen any time the Pens face a cold backup, McElhinney played incredible. He stopped all 23 shots against to record his first shutout of the season.
* The Hurricanes have a reputation for outshooting their opponents. And that was once again the case tonight as Carolina won the shot clock by a count of 32-23.
* Sidney Crosby came so close to breaking out in a big way in this game. In the first period he had the puck and nearly the entire net at which to shoot as McElhinney had fallen down. But Crosby's shot went right into the goaltender's chest. Crosby was set up in the second period in the slot, but his one-timer went wide. Later in the second period Crosby had a chance at the side of the crease, but his shot sailed just over the crossbar. In the third period a puck squirted free to him at the crease, but he fanned on the shot and the puck fluttered off of his stick.
Crosby was excellent in every facet of the game. He was skating hard, flying around people and creating a great number of chances. It was just one of those games where the puck wasn't going in for him.
* The Pens certainly generated their chances. Juuso Riikola carried a puck to the net that squeezed through McElhinney, but skidded along the goal line and out of danger. Jake Guentzel hit a post. Pittsburgh had chances, but it didn't bury them.
* Forward Teddy Blueger is getting more and more action on the Pens' penalty kill. The coaching staff is showing a lot of faith in the rookie, playing in his just 4th game, and he's been rewarding them with his play.
* Referee Brian Pochmara suffered a lower-body injury during the second period. So Dan O'Halloran served as the lone referee for the remainder of the game.