-More often than not, there are countless supposedly reputable journalists who write all sort of things about Sidney Crosby. A lot of those things tend to be negative. He's a whiner. He's a diver. Etc. You get the idea.
-Just about every time, those who write those things can rarely be seen actually asking Crosby about his supposed transgressions. He's pretty available for every manner of question. If you want to call us homers for suggesting that, fine. Just make sure you take it up with Chip Alexander, Hurricanes beat writer for the Raleigh News & Observer, as well:
Pens' Sidney Crosby may be most approachable, accessible superstar in major-league sports. Other "stars" in other leagues should take note.— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) October 28, 2013
-If you're a credentialed member of the media who has access to the Penguins' room, spend a few minutes with Crosby before you attack him. At least ask him questions based on your opinions of him. Chances are, he'll give you the time. We've seen him give a few minutes to broadcasters from NBC during the postseason to newspaper writers from Wilkes-Barre during training camp. We've been fortunate to have more than five minutes of his time on occasion.
-During this three-game skid the Penguins are in, we've seen their depth get tested quite a bit. With James Neal and Beau Bennett each sidelined, the Penguins have had to turn to the likes of Chuck Kobasew and Matt D'Agostini to man the right wing on the second line.
-In years past, the Penguins could use Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy or even Jordan Staal to fill out any holes they had on their wings with the top two lines. Now, with the salary cap having taken a dip, they simply don't have that depth which would allow them to pluck a player off their bottom two lines to fill in a gap.
-They Penguins chose to focus their limited cap space this past offseason on a top-six forward (Pascal Dupuis) and a top four defenseman (Rob Scuderi) while hoping to fill in the blanks on the bottom two lines with projects. Perhaps we're seeing some of that impact how the Penguins' are performing as of late.
-The injury to Scuderi gives Matt Niskanen a promotion as the defensive partner of Kris Letang. Those two as a pairing had some success last season. Niskanen realizes his role in that pairing as the stay at home defenseman. He's not Rob Scuderi but he's more than adequate in that role.
-Robert Bortuzzo return as well. He'll be teamed with Olli Maatta. Those two have been very solid together.
-The Penguins' injury woes are nothing compared to the Hurricanes who are playing without their top two goaltenders Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin. The Penguins' slumping offense will get to face Justin Peters tonight.
-We'll be interested to see how the Hurricanes match up the Staal brothers on the Penguins' top two lines with the last change for faceoffs as the home team.
-We would anticipate seeing Justin Faulk seeing a lot of Crosby.
-We like the Hurricanes' new jerseys. They're much simpler than their previous duds. But they sort of look like the Coyotes' jerseys if someone adjusted the tint on your television screen:
-We would anticipate some significant cheering for any Penguins success tonight. Penguins fans always make their presence felt in Carolina.
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Deryk Engelland, Dustin Jeffrey and Rob Scuderi.
-The Hurricanes' starters are Patrick Dwyer, Jordan Staal, Jiri Tlusty, Justin Faulk, Andrej Sekera and Cam Ward.
-Their scratches are Radek Dvorak, Mike Komisarek and Jeff Skinner.
-Jayson Megna will play his second game of his career.
18:20: After Chuck Kobasew wins a battle behind the Carolin cage against Jay Harrison, he plays a puck to the slot which Brandon Sutter chops on net. Peters eats it up.
17:32: Brett Sutter shoves Craig Adams into the right wing corner boards. Adams eats the boards but gets up to play a puck. The great Joe Vitale challenges Sutter to a fight. They drop the gloves. Sutter has an early advantage with a few rights. Vital recovers with a series of his his own rights. Sutter responds with his own flurry or rights. They wrestlye a bit more before the linesmen pin them to the boards and break it up. In addition to fighting majors, Vitale and Sutter each get a minors, Vitale for roughing and Sutter for boarding.
17:26: Matt D'Agostini whacks a slapper from above the right circle.
15:09: Adams snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Peters fights it off. Evgeni Malkin follows up on and jams the rebound on net. Peters kicks that out.
14:53: The Penguins will get the first power play as Tim Gleason is called for holding Niskanen. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and Martin take the ice.
13:45: Harrison chips the puck down ice from his own right circle. That's is the Hurricanes' third clear of this power play.
12:49: As the Gleason minor expires, Letang whacks a one-timer from the right circle wide to the far side.
12:03: Kobasew absolutely dumps Gleason into the right wing boards of the Carolina zone. Kobasew is shaken up a bit and heads to the Penguins' bench.
11:35: The Penguins use a set play from the neutral zone and strike. Crosby wins a faceoff just outside the Carolina zone to Orpik. Orpik chips and banks the puck off the right wing boards of the Carolina zone. Megna uses his speed, gets behind Sekera and recovers the puck on the right circle. Megna jabs a quick little wrister on net. Peters makes the save with his blocker but allows a big rebound. Tanner Glass recovers it and chops in an easy rebound goal. Just another ho-hum Glass-Megna-Orpik goal. Megna and Orpik get assists. It's Megna's first career point. Penguins 1-0.
9:21: According to Root Sports broadcaster, Kobasew has retreated to the dressing room.
8:12: Ron Hainsey backhands a dump-in from the blue line on the Penguins' net to allow his team a change. That's the Hurricanes' first official "shot" on net. It prompts a Bronx cheer from the home crowd.
7:28: Martin glins a wrister from the right point. Peters kicks it out and steers the rebound to the left wing wall. D'Agostini chases it down and is plastered into the wall by Harrison for his troubles.
7:25: Malkin recovers the puck behind the net, makes a nifty backhanded pass from the left of the cage to Martin in the left circle. Martin leans down and snaps off a wrister
6:46: After a turnover by Bortuzzo in his own zone, Gleason chops a one-timer from the left point. It hits a skate and bounces in the slot. Brett Sutter whacks an impressive backhander on net which Fleury punches away. Tough save.
5:54: Digging a puck out from the Carolina end boards, Megna dekes around Gerbe and tries to jam in a forehand shot from the left of the cage. Peters holds it out.
5:45: Alexander Semin is tripped up in the Carolina zone by Brandon Sutter. That's an easy two minutes for Sutter. Adams, Crosby, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
5:42: Crosy win the faceoff in the right circle. Martin recovers it below the goal line and flings it down ice.
4:36: Eric Staal snaps off a wrister from the left wall. Fleury kicks it away.
4:28: On a delayed penalty, Faulk whacks a one-timer from the right circle. Adams blocks it. There's a battle for the rebound in the slot. Play is halted. Adams is called for slashing his stick over the shins of Eric Staal. That's two minutes. The Hurricanes will have 44 seconds of a two-man advantage. The great Joe Vitale, Dupuis and Orpik take the ice.
4:16: Semin booms a one-timer from the left circle high of the cage. The puck hits the end baords and endsup clearing the zone.
3:57: The Hurricanes take advantage of the extra space and tie the game. Semin and Elias Lindholm play catch from the left circle to the goal line. Lindhom finally deals a little pass to Gere in the slot. Gerbe whips a one-timer by Fleury on the glove hand side and hits twine. The Hurricanes kept that simple. Lindholm and Semin get assists. There is still 1:29 remaining on Adams' minor. Hurricanes 1, Penguins 1.
2:41: Off a one-touch pass from Semin, Sekera booms a one-timer from center point wide of the net.
2:28: The Adams minor expires. The Hurricanes didn't do much with a one-man advantage.
2:00: The Penguins will get the next power play as Tuomor Ruutu high-sticked fellow Finn Maatta. That's two minutes. Crosby, Malkin Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
1:43: Jordan Staal leads a rush up the right wing one-on-one against Martin. He slides a pas to Faulk traling on the right wing. Faulk pulls the puck back and whips a heavy wrister wide on the near side.
0:57: From above the left circle, Malkin deals a pass from to Jokinen down low in the right circle. Jokinen has a one-timer teed up but fans on the shot.
0:49: A slapper by Gerbe from the right wing is punched away by Fleury's blocker.
0:00: End of period. Ruutu's minor expires with little threat from the Penguins. Hurricanes 1, Penguins 1.
-Special teams kind of told the tale of that period. The Hurricanes cashed in one of their two chances while the Penguins were blanked on both of their chances. That's why this is a tie game.
-The Penguins controlled most of the five-on-five play. A few tough saves by Peters and the special teams woes are why they don't have a lead.
-Jayson Megna had a pretty strong period. He had a hand in the Glass goal and created another scoring chance with a nice move down low.
-Kobasew did not play the final 11:53 of the period.
-The Penguins' lines are a bit different than the lines from today's morning skate. Prior to Kobasew's absnece, these appeared to be the lines they were using tonight:
-The Penguins lead the game in shots on net, 12-5.
-The Penguins lead in attempted shots, 20-14.
-Megna, Malkin and Gerbe each lead the game with two shots.
-Letang leads the game with 8:46 of ice time.
-Faulk leads the Hurricanes with 8:07.
-The Penguins have an 11-8 lead in faceoffs (58 percent).
-Brandon Sutter is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
-Eric Staal is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Lindholm leads the game with two blocked shots.
19:38: A rare lack of discipline by Kunitz leads to another power play for the Hurricanes. Patrick trips him up. Kunitz gets up and gives him a little slash to the ribs. That's two minutes for KUnitz. Crosby, Dupuis, Martin and Orpik tahe the ice.
19:20: The Hurricanes try the same back-and-forth passing play between Semin and Lindholm on the left wing. Lindholm deals a pass to Gerbe in the slot. Gerbe pumps a one-timer which Fleury kicks out. The Penguisn clear the rebound.
17:34: As the Kunitz minor expires, Sekera booms a slapper from the center point which hits a body in front.
16:15: Gliding up the right wing, Megna floats a saucer pass to the slot. The great Joe Vitale hustles up the slot but their timing is off and the pass fails to connect.
15:35: Tlusty flings a wrister from above the left circle. Fleury gloves it and dishes to Orpik who skates it up ice.
13:50: Megna is getting a shift with Jokinen and Malkin.
12:16: Off a feed by Eric Staal from behind the cage, Semin chops a bouncing puck from the right circle on net. Fleury kicks it out.
11:28: Martin recovers a puck in his own right circle, wheels around, fends off a determined backcheck by Tlusty, hustles through the neutral zone, gets to the Carolina blue line and chips a puck to Megna racing up the right wing. Megna settles the puck and rips a low wrister on net. Heck of a play all around by Martin there.
10:35: Kunitz lifts a wrister from the left circle. Peters punches it away.
10:06: Maatta flings a wrister from the right point. It hits a stick and bounces on net. Peters fends it off.
9:02: Ron Hainsey is in deep and snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Fleury knocks it dead and smothers the rebound.
7:49: Orpik snaps off a wrister from the slot. Orpik deflects it out of play with his stick.
7:22: Dwyer booms a slapper from the right half wall. Fleury knocks it dead and covers to freeze play. Jordan Staal swoops in for a potential rebound and clips Fleury a bit. Fleury takes a little jab with his stick at Staal in protest.
6:58: Sekera booms a slapper from the center point which hits a stick and deflects wide.
6:16: Kunitz wheels around the back of the cage and flings a backhander from the right of the net. Peters hugs the post and fights it off. Kunitz recovers the rebound and swipes a forehand s hot which Peters denies too.
5:58: Brandon Sutter takes a tumble into the end boards while battling for a puck. He lumbers to the bench in distress and is attended to by athletic trainer Chris Stewart.
5:07: Off a tap pass by Malkin, Jokinen rips a wrister from the right circle. It glances off the leg of Hainsey and sails on net. Peters eats it up.
3:36: The first line, bottled up most of the night, finally strikes. Crosby takes a pass at the right wing, gains the offensive zone, spins off a check from Sekera and deals a pass to Kunitz driving the net off the left wing. Kunitz gets a step on Jordan Staal and taps the puck by Peters on the blocker side. What a pass by Crosby. Crosby and Orpik get assists. Penguins 2-1.
3:28: The Hurricanes get a chance to tie it up as D'Agostini is nabbed for hooking Murphy. Crosby, Adams, Martina and Orpik take the ice.
3:26: Off a faceoff win in the right circle, Semin drives a one-timer from center point. Fleury kicks it away.
2:51: The Hurricanes tire that same passing play with Semin, Lindholm and Gerbe again. Gerbe snaps off a one-timer from below the left circle. Fleury fights it off.
1:46: Jordan Staal lifts a wrister from the left wing. Fleury fights it off. Glass slaps the rebound down ice to clear the zone.
1:28: The D'Agostini minor is killed. Not much going on there for the Hurricanes.
1:05: Semin gains the offensive zone on the right wing, uses Orpik as a screen and releases a tricky wrister from the top of the right circle. FLeury fights it off and deflects the puck out of play.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Hurricanes 1.
-That was a pretty stale period of hockey. Not much sustained offensive pressure by either team. Both squads tried kind of feel that period out and wait for the other to make a mistake.
-The reason the Penguins took a lead was simply because Crosby made a play. He created a little space for himself and hit Kunitz with a spectacular pass that only a few players on this planet can make.
-The Crosby-Kunitz-Dupuis line has been penned in most of the game by Jordan Staal's line as well as the Faulk-Sekera pairing.
-Jayson Megna is taking advantage of the Kobasew absence and creating a few things. He has the speed to keep up with Malkin during the handful of shifts he's had on the second line.
-Beyond the two assists he has, Orpik has had a pretty strong defensive effort tonight. He's limited Semin much of the night.
-Both goaltenders have been strong.
-Still no sighting of Kobasew and to our knowledge, no update on his status.
-The Penguins have a 20-18 edge in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 34-33 edge in attempted shots.
-Kunitz leads the game with five shots.
-Gerbe leads the Hurricanes with four shots.
-Letang leads the game with 16:46 of ice time.
-Sekera leads the Hurricanes with 16:38.
-The Penguins have a 24-19 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).
-Brandon Sutter is 9 for 15 (56 percent).
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
-Eric Staal is 7 for 12 (58 percent).
-Orpik, Lindholm and Dwyer each lead the game with two blocked shots.
Sergei Gonchar's face on this Root Sports Petr Nedved commercial speaks volumes about that night in 1996: pic.twitter.com/kSNf8W1Db9— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) October 29, 2013
19:37: Sekera snaps off a wrister from the right point. Crosby blocks it. Sekera recovers the rebound and snaps off another wrister wide of the cage.
19:21: Tlusty has the puck in the slot and ahs a look with a backhander but he deals a pass to Jordan Staal to the left of the cage. Martin ties up Jordan Staal just enough to prevent a shot.
18:22: Letang is in deep on the right wing and snaps off a wrister which Peters fights off.
16:50: Off a faceoff win Crosby in the left circle of the Carolina zone, D'Agostini whips a wrister on net. Peters fights it off.
16:07: Gerbe chips a little wrister off the left wing on net. Fleury kicks it out. Semin has a chance at the rebound but over-skates it.
15:18: An update on Kobasew:
Penguins announce that Kobasew won't return tonight. Hardly a surprise.— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) October 29, 2013
14:00: The great Joe Vitale wheels around the bakc of the net, emerges on the left side and lifts a wrister which Peters appears to fight off with his back.
13:19: Crosby taps a backhanded pass off the left wall to Kunitz in the left circle. Kunitz whacks a one-timer wide of the cage.
12:49: Jayson Megna's strong night gets even stronger. Orpik chips a wrister from the right point. It hits Hits off a stake or two. Crosby is able to settle puck in the slot and lifts a wrister his deflects off off Megna's leg and deflcs by the right leg of a scrambling Peters into the cage. The PNC Arena goal horn goes off briefly for a moment. It's Megna's first career goal. Crosby recovers the puck and gives it to Stewart who passes it on to equipment manager Dana Heinze A video review confirms the goal. Crosby and Orpik get assists. It's a three-point night for Bobby Orrpik. Penguins 3-1.
12:03: Murphy booms a slapper from the left half wall which Fleury fights off.
10:58: Semin plays a puck off the right wing into the crease. Fleury gets a piece of it. Gerbe has a chance to the left of the cage but he falls over. Martin is able to calmly play the puck out of danger.
10:19: The Hurricanes have a chance to get back into this as D'Agostini is called for high sticking against Murphy. Orpik, Martin Crosby and Adams take the ice.
9:59: Adams coats up the right wing on a two-on-one with Crosby against Murphy. Murphy glops down to take away the pass. Adams forces the pass anyway and sends it wide of Crosby's stick.
9:48: Things are evened up as Gerbe is called for tripping Adams at the Penguins' blue line. We'll have four-on-four for 1:30.
8:19: D'Agostini returns to play. The Penguins will have a power-play for 30 seconds.
7:47: The Gerbe minor expires.
5:44: Brandon Sutter whips a loose puck from below the goal line on the right wing into Peters. Peters eats it up.
4:25: The Penguins' lines and defensive pairing are all over the place. Bortuzzo is working with Letang,
2:38: Faulk booms a slapper from the right point wide of the mark.
1:38: After a turnover by Brandon Sutter in his own zone, Sekera and Gerbe each have chances in tight but can't get a clean shot off.
1:23: Peters is pulled for an extra attacker. The Hurricanes call a timeout to get organized.
1:00: Jordan Staal sweeps a backhander from the right circle which hits a body in front.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1.
-First things first:
Bylsma on Root Sports: Kobasew left with lower-body injury. Will be reevaluated. Scuderi has broken ankle which will require surgery.— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) October 29, 2013
-Defense had been an issue for the Penguins the last two games of their now defunct three-game losing streak. They surrounded leads in each of their past two losses. Tonight, defense won this game for them. And they did it without arguably their best defensive player in Rob Scuderi.
-After the Penguins made it a 3-1 game, they clamped down on the Hurricanes and limited their offensive chances the rest of the way. The last 10 minutes or so of this game saw the Penguins imitate the mid 1990s Devils in some ways.
-Kris Letang was very quiet tonight. And that might be a good thing given his rocky performance in his past two games. We're not sure if he had chat with the coaching staff or if he just felt the need to play a more conservative game with Scuderi injured, but he didn't make the type of crippling errors which played big roles in the Penguins' previous two losses.
-The story of this game was obviously Jayson Megna. He had shifts with the top two lines and created all sorts of chances with his speed. He didn't seem overwhelmed by it at all. He more than looked like he belonged.
-The Brooks Orpik-Paul Martin defensive pairing was outstanding. Orpik and Martin saw plenty of ice time against the Hurricanes' top line of Eric Staal, Alexander Semin and Nathan Gerbe and limited the quality looks that trio saw in five-on-five play. Orpik and Martin had a large hand in this win.
-It would be a stretch to say he was tested a great deal, especially as the game wore on, but the Marc-Andre Fleury came through with another strong game. He provided a stable, calming presence in net tonight.
-The first line of Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz was limited much of the night by Carolina's second line of Jiri Tlusty, Patrick Dwyer and Jordan Staal as well as the defensive pairing of Andrej Sekera and Justin Faulk. But it Crosby was able to generate a scoring chance for Kunitz on just one play and that proved to be the game-winning goal.
-The Penguins' second line didn't generate much outside of a few hustle plays by Megna. Evgeni Malkin just isn't generating much in terms of five-on-five play for the Penguins. He hasn't had an even-strength point for the Penguins for six consecutive games now. We know he's playing without James Neal and Beau Bennett, but considering Crosby tends to draw the tougher defensive opponents, you would think Malkin could create some things on his own.
-It seemed like Matt D'Agostini took a step back after
-We're not sure how to judge the bottom two lines given tonight given all the shuffling after the Kobasew injury.
-Tanner Glass' strong start to the season continues. He really looks like he gets it this season.
-Justin Peters played well enough to win. He maybe could have made a better play on the Glass goal but overall, he was adequate.
-The Penguins had a 29-21 lead in shots on net.
-The Hurricanes had a 65-50 lead in attempted shots.
-Kunitz led the game with six shots.
-The only Penguins skaters who failed to record a shot on net were Martin, Dupuis and Robert Bortuzzo.
-Gerbe led the Hurricanes with five shots.
-Martin led the game with 25:17 of ice time.
-Sekera led the Hurricanes with 22:31.
-The Penguins had a 32-25 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).
-Brandon Sutter was 11 for 17 (65 percent).
-Eric Staal was 10 for 18 (56 percent).
-Martin, Orpik, Craig Adams, Dwyer and Elias Lindholm each led the game with two blocked shots.
-Megna is the 465th player to score a regular season goal for the Penguins.
-Bobby Orrpik matched a career high with three points. His only other previous three-point game came with a three-assist effort in a 5-4 shootout win at Toronto, March 28, 2010.
-Orpik (124 points) passed up James Neal (123), Gregg Sheppard (123) and Val Fonteyne (121) for 67th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list.