CanesPens102813

Game 12 By the Numbers: Penguins at Hurricanes

Where do I begin with this game? There are so many errors and examples of terrible play that I could single out but I wanted to keep this post reasonably short. I'll just say this: The Hurricanes played, by far, their worst game of the season and looked completely outmatched by the Penguins. A three-game losing streak isn't the end of the world and it's still early in the year, but this was a terrible game by pretty much the entire team. Muller singled out the team's "big players" after the game and while they need to pick it up, they were not the only problem.

The team's "stars," the supporting cast, the defense and basically everything in between was a mess during this game. The only thing that was remotely average was the goaltending, which was supposed to be the Canes biggest weak point, and the team let that go to waste by playing a terrible game in front of Justin Peters. Pittsburgh is going to make a lot of teams look bad, but they have their own flaws and they still made the Hurricanes look like an AHL club despite that.

So how do the Canes fix this mess? Getting healthy could help things a little. They have some key injuries now and getting one of Cam Ward or Anton Khudobin back will bring a couple more wins, but the Canes are in serious trouble if they plan to rely on goaltending to steal games for them in the future. They are also missing Jeff Skinner, the team's leading scorer, but between the Staal brothers, Tuomo Ruutu, Alex Semin, Jiri Tlusty and Nathan Gerbe, one would think that Carolina has enough guys who can score to make up for the loss. Seeing how Carolina has scored only four goals in their last 12 periods, this doesn't appear to be the case. To make things worse, they have also been playing some absolutely terrible hockey during this stretch, so it's not like this is a case of bad luck bringing them down. 

Again, this is just three games and it's only October but this could easily get worse if they continue to turn in performances similar to Monday night. Let's hope that was rock bottom.

Fenwick Timeline from Extra Skater

Once again, Carolina was abysmal in the first period but this time they managed to escape with the score tied because of a late power play goal. That rejuvenated them a little, as they were able to stay even with Pittsburgh through most of the second period. Carolina carried the play for most of that period and were setting themselves to be in good shape for the third even if they didn't score. That is, until they gave up a chance in transition that resulted in Chris Kunitz beating Jordan Staal to the net and deflecting a pass from Sidney Crosby past goaltender Justin Peters. The Canes then found themselves down a goal and responded by cratering in the third period. It may have been a two-goal loss on the scoreboard, but the Hurricanes were dominated in that third period, getting outshot 9-3 and failing to sustain any offensive pressure.

I'm sure the Hurricanes will endure plenty of big losses this year, but they were in a position to win or at least tie the game when entering the third period and failed to take advantage of it. Not only that, but they were dominated and looked spiritless for most of that frame, which was pretty alarming. This is why I consider this game the Canes worst loss of the season. That and they were destroyed in terms of scoring chances.

Scoring Chances

Period Total 5v5 PP 5v3 SH 3v5 4v4
1 3 8 1 7 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 7 5 5 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 2 6 1 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 12 19 7 18 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

The second period is the only thing that saved this game from being a complete white-washing. Remove that and the Hurricanes were outchanced 14-5 and 13-2 at even strength. I don't care if they were playing the Penguins, that is just disgraceful and pathetic on so many different levels.

Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances

# Player 5v5 PP SH
4 Andrej Sekera 17:24 3 10 2:35 1 0 2:32 0 1
6 Tim Gleason 13:19 3 4 0:00 0 0 0:49 0 0
7 Ryan Murphy 16:26 2 3 5:27 4 0 0:00 0 0
8 Kevin Westgarth  4:28 1 3 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
11 Jordan Staal 16:07 2 8 3:11 0 0 1:55 0 1
12 Eric Staal 15:04 4 4 5:36 5 0 1:23 0 0
14 Nathan Gerbe 15:11 4 4 5:23 5 0 1:55 0 0
15 Tuomo Ruutu 11:29 0 3 2:25 0 0 0:00 0 0
16 Elias Lindholm 12:45 0 5 4:37 5 0 0:08 0 0
19 Jiri Tlusty 13:00 2 5 2:05 0 0 0:08 0 0
20 Riley Nash 11:20 0 3 0:00 0 0 1:05 0 0
21 Drayson Bowman 9:27 1 6 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
27 Justin Faulk 17:54 2 11 1:45 0 0 2:26 0 1
28 Alexander Semin 14:54 4 4 5:43 5 0 1:06 0 0
39 Patrick Dwyer 14:11 2 5 0:00 0 0 1:22 0 1
42 Brett Sutter  6:14 1 4 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
44 Jay Harrison 13:12 1 6 0:00 0 0 1:10 0 0
65 Ron Hainsey 15:54 3 2 0:13 0 0 2:05 0 0
35 Justin Peters  46:18 7 18 7:44 5 0 4:31 0 1

Best EV Forwards: Alex Semin, Nathan Gerbe & Eric Staal EVEN

Worst EV Forward: Jordan Staal -6

Best EV Defenseman: Ron Hainsey +1

Worst EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk -9

After the game, I said that this was Jordan Staal's worst game as a Hurricane and Justin Faulk's worst game as an NHL-er. The scoring chances reflect both of those points well. Somehow, the team managed to outshoot Pittsburgh at even strength when Jordan was on the ice but most of the shots that line generated were either blocked or from outside because they created only two scoring chances while giving up a ton in their own end. Staal in particular was awful. The Pensblog made a few jokes about Jordan being "invisible" but he was pretty noticeable on Kunitz's goal, when he was beaten to the front of the net. He was also constantly getting pinned into his own end by Sidney Crosby's line and chasing the puck for 90% of the game. I've been a huge apologist for Jordan during his time in Carolina because he has contributed in a lot of ways but he was awful in this game and there is no sugarcoating it.

In fairness to Jordan, every other forward not on the first line was also terrible. Nash looks like he would be more comfortable in Charlotte now that Skinner isn't playing on his wing and Tuomo Ruutu isn't even close to being back in his old form. On paper, this is a third line that should do some damage but without Skinner, they have been just horrid. Putting Elias Lindholm on this line didn't make much of an impact either as he has only helped on the power play and nothing else.

The fourth line somehow managed to outperform Nash, Ruutu & Lindholm at even strength and they still had an awful game. They were the trio on the ice for Tanner Glass' goal, which came off a lost faceoff and some terrible back-checking on part of the Hurricanes. Both Justin Faulk & Andrej Sekera didn't look good on that goal either and that was just one instance of them looking lost in their own end in this game as they were torn to shreds by Sidney Crosby & company. Crosby will do that to a lot of good defensemen, but Faulk & Sekera's performance was inexcusably bad in this game and very troubling if they are going to keep getting the tough assignments.

Penguins Individual Scoring Chances

# Player EV PP Sh
2 Matt Niskanen 17:30 5 3 2:20 0 0 0:03 0 0
3 Olli Maatta 12:52 4 1 1:40 0 0 0:03 0 0
7 Paul Martin 17:09 9 3 2:26 1 0 5:42 0 4
9 Pascal Dupuis 17:02 6 2 0:00 0 0 3:43 0 1
12 Chuck Kobasew  2:33 1 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
14 Chris Kunitz 16:17 6 2 2:08 1 0 0:03 0 0
15 Tanner Glass 12:26 5 3 0:00 0 0 2:18 0 1
16 Brandon Sutter 10:03 4 1 1:36 0 0 2:04 0 0
22 Matt D'Agostini 7:57 3 1 1:41 0 0 0:00 0 0
27 Craig Adams 12:22 3 2 0:00 0 0 3:58 0 3
36 Jussi Jokinen 9:40 2 2 2:18 0 0 0:00 0 0
41 Robert Bortuzzo 10:24 3 1 0:00 0 0 1:32 0 0
44 Brooks Orpik 18:34 9 3 0:20 0 0 4:47 0 4
46 Joe Vitale 9:46 3 1 0:00 0 0 0:31 0 1
58 Kris Letang  18:53 4 3 2:16 1 0 2:58 0 1
59 Jayson Megna 10:58 9 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
71 Evgeni Malkin 15:24 3 3 2:55 1 0 0:03 0 0
87 Sidney Crosby 17:14 9 2 2:55 1 0 2:56 0 4
29 Marc-Andre Fleury  47:33 18 7 4:31 0 0 7:48 0 5

Best EV Forwards: Jayson Megna & Sidney Crosby +7

Worst EV Forward: Jussi Jokinen EVEN

Best EV Defensemen: Paul Martin & Brooks Orpik +6

Worst EV Defenseman: Kris Letang +1

Pittsburgh was playing down a forward for most of the game but they still managed to outchance Carolina 18-7 as their first & third lines ran wild on the Canes defense. Crosby obviously did most of the damage but a noticeable standout was Jayson Megna, who had a two-point night in only his second NHL game. Megna took a few shifts on Crosby's line late in the game and he definitely took advantage of them, as he was on the ice for nine of Pittsburgh EV chances. I suppose this is sort of a testament to how poorly the Canes played, but I thought Megna was impressive. 

Head to Head at Five on Five

Something I forgot to mention in the individual scorign chances is that Eric Staal's line had a decent night. They were matched up against Evgeni Malkin for most of the game and outchanced the Pens during that time. Muller ended up leaning on them heavily in the third period, though and they ended up taking some damage from Crosby's line as a result. It's hard to blame Muller for doing that, though when you look at how poorly Jordan's line played against them. Faulk/Sekera were also destroyed by Crosby and Pittsburgh's defensive depth had no trouble containing the Hurricanes 2nd & 3rd lines at all.

5v5 Zone Entries

Hurricanes

 

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Sekera 2 1 0 0 2 1 0
Gleason 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Murphy 6 3 4 3 2 0 0
Westgarth 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
J. Staal 2 1 1 0 1 1 0
E. Staal 5 3 3 3 2 0 2
Gerbe 5 1 1 1 4 0 1
Ruutu 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Lindholm 2 0 1 0 1 0 1
Tlusty 4 1 1 1 3 0 1
Nash 3 1 0 0 3 1 0
Bowman 3 0 1 0 2 0 0
Faulk 3 1 1 1 2 0 0
Semin 6 3 6 3 0 0 0
Dwyer 4 6 0 0 4 6 1
Sutter 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Harrison 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Hainsey 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team 52 21 19 12 33 9 6

Once again, Carolina reverted to playing dump-and-chase and once again, they failed to generate any offense off their dump-ins. The Pens forced the issue by playing a neutral zone trap in the third period but this isn't the first time the Canes have played this style and failed at doing much with it. Only three players generated more than one shot off their dump-ins and only Semin, Eric Staal and Ryan Murphy were able to carry the puck in multiple times. It's nice to see Semin playing well but the rest of the team needs to pick it up.

Penguins

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Niskanen 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Maatta 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Martin 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
Dupuis 3 0 1 0 2 0 0
Kobasew 1 0 0 0 1 0 1
Kunitz 5 1 2 1 3 0 2
Glass 2 1 1 1 1 0 0
Sutter 3 2 2 2 1 0 0
D'Agostini 3 2 0 0 3 2 0
Adams 2 2 1 2 1 0 1
Jokinen 2 1 2 1 0 0 1
Bortuzzo 4 0 0 0 4 0 0
Orpik 4 3 1 1 3 2 0
Vitale 6 10 3 4 3 6 0
Letang 3 0 0 0 3 0 1
Megna 9 5 4 3 5 2 0
Malkin 4 0 1 0 3 0 1
Crosby 5 4 3 2 2 2 1
Team 61 32 22 18 39 14 8

Pittsburgh also dumped the puck in on most of their entries and most of them came while they were playing with a lead. The Penguins were basically playing a game of keep-away for most of the first and third periods and they helped their own cause by constantly beating out the Canes to loose pucks. The fact that they generated six shots off entries by Joe Vitale illustrates that well. I'd also like to point out Megna's numbers here, as it shows that he was definitely more than just a passenger on Sutter's line.

5v5 Zone Exits

Hurricanes

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
4 Andrej Sekera D 20 2 3 0 0 0
6 Tim Gleason D 13 1 0 1 1 0
7 Ryan Murphy D 20 3 3 0 0 0
8 Kevin Westgarth R 1 0 1 0 0 0
11 Jordan Staal C 9 1 1 0 1 1
12 Eric Staal C 14 2 2 0 1 0
14 Nathan Gerbe C 8 3 1 0 0 0
15 Tuomo Ruutu R 4 1 1 0 0 0
16 Elias Lindholm C 5 0 0 0 1 1
19 Jiri Tlusty C 5 0 4 0 0 0
20 Riley Nash C 3 1 0 0 0 0
21 Drayson Bowman L 5 2 1 0 1 0
27 Justin Faulk D 18 1 2 0 1 0
28 Alexander Semin R 10 1 5 0 0 0
39 Patrick Dwyer R 8 2 1 0 0 0
42 Brett Sutter L 3 0 1 0 0 0
44 Jay Harrison D 16 1 2 0 1 0
65 Ron Hainsey D 23 0 5 1 1 1

The Hurricanes having only eight defensive zone turnovers is a little surprising but not when you consider that they barely had the puck and spent 2/3 of the game trying to keep up with the Penguins. They also had a lot of failed exits that resulted in them losing possession and the Penguins setting up a forecheck, most of which they were able to turn into some decent zone time.

Penguins

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
2 Matt Niskanen D 16 0 3 0 0 1
3 Olli Maatta D 13 0 3 0 3 0
7 Paul Martin D 17 1 4 1 2 0
9 Pascal Dupuis L 7 1   0 0  
12 Chuck Kobasew R 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 Chris Kunitz L 8 3 2 0 1 0
15 Tanner Glass L 4 1 0 0 0  
16 Brandon Sutter C 6 0 3 0 1 0
22 Matt D'Agostini R 4 1 0 0 0 0
27 Craig Adams R 2 0 0 0 0 0
36 Jussi Jokinen L 5 1 1 0 0 0
41 Robert Bortuzzo D 9 1 3 1 1 0
44 Brooks Orpik D 22 1 2 1 3 0
46 Joe Vitale C 4 2 0 0 0  
58 Kris Letang D 16 4 2 0 0 1
59 Jayson Megna C 4 2 1 0 0 0
71 Evgeni Malkin C 10 4 3 0 0 0
87 Sidney Crosby C 10 3 0 0 1 0

Not having Rob Scuderi in the lineup didn't effect Pittsburgh's zone exits too much. The Hurricanes failing to sustain any forecheck played a role in that, but the Pens also saw a very good game out of Paul Martin and Kris Letang. Their forwards also played a pretty significant role in their ability to exit the zone without much of an issue.

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