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-Captain/center Sidney Crosby missed practice due to a "lower-body" injury.
-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to keep going forward.” - Defenseman Brian Dumoulin on his team's five-game losing streak.
-The Associated Press' recap. "When you continue to try and improve your game and play the right way, it starts to turn. You may not get the result right away, but it does turn." - Head coach Mike Sullivan (above).
-Mike Lange's goal calls call.
-If you're wondering what goaltender Matt Murray looks like in a Penguins jersey, here you go:
-Sullivan and assistant coach Rick Tocchet appeared to have a one-way conversation:
-Crosby was focused on this puck:
-Left winger David Perron lost his lid battling with Hurricanes forward Brad Malone:
-Right winger Phil Kessel moved the puck up ice:
-Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward was focused on this puck:
-Ward kicked out this puck:
-Hurricanes forward Joakmin Nordstom and Ward had a moment:
-Hurricanes coach Bill Peters apparently wanted to hang 10:
-Center Evgeni Malkin speaks:
-Right winger Daniel Sprong returns to Charlottetown while left winger Scott Wilson returns from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-Left winger Chris Kunitz sure likes hitting.
-Goaltender Brian Foster made 30 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 3-0 shutout of the Syracuse Crunch.
-Goaltender Franky Palazzese made 26 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 5-3 loss to the Quad City Mallards.
-After the Jump: Hall of Famer Dickie Moore dies.
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Observations from the Penguins' 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes.
Glass half full - The Penguins were much better tonight than in last night's drubbing by the Bruins.
Glass half empty - The Hurricanes are worst team - by a large margin - than the Bruins.
Glass half full - The Penguins found ways to generate a ton of scoring chances, quality scoring chances. They spent most of the game in the Hurricanes' zone and controlled the puck most of the night
Glass half empty - Cam Ward was in net for the Hurricanes and it's not 2005. He's well past his prime and he looked like Roy Worters tonight.
Glass half full - The Penguins finally got something out of the power play. They actually made their power play look like a true weapon.
Glass half empty - The Hurricanes scored two goals on their power play.
Glass half full - Many of the Penguins spoke about making progress with tonight's game.
Glass half empty - The Penguins have lost four consecutive games.
-The Hurricanes were granted three power plays in the first period and took advantage of two of them. They scored the game's first goal 4:57 into the period. Lugging a puck up ice from his own zone, Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk fed a pass to former Penguins center Jordan Staal. Staal barged his way by defenseman Olli Maatta off the wing. Attacking the net, Staal flipped the puck from his forehand to his backhand then his forehand again and lifted a wobbly shot which clinked off the blocker of goaltender Matt Murray and into the cage. It was almost similar to his great short-handed goal he scored for the Penguins in the 2009 Stanley Cup final.
-Nearly 10 minutes later, they doubled their lead. Working the center point, Hurricanes defneseman John-Michael Liles fed a pass to defnseman Brett Pesce above the left circle. Pesce tapped it back to Liles and Liles whacked a one-timer which glanced off a body or two before blowing by Murray's glove hand. Liles was credited with the score at the 14:56 mark and gave his team a 2-0 lead.
-Early into the second period, the Penguins got a power play and they cashed in. New defenseman Trevor Daley was quarterbacking the first power-play. He walked the blue line from the center point to the left circle and fed the puck to center Evgeni Malkin who was now in the center point. Malkin took the pass, moved towards the left circle and ripped a wrister which beat Ward's blocker on the near side. Right winger Patric Hornqvist had a wonderful screen on Ward and prevented him from truly seeing the shot.
The Penguins had plenty of chances after that to tie the game, including a third period power play. Their greatest chance came with 12:22 remaining play. Right winger Phil Kessel fired a stretch pass for Malkin up the right wing. Malkin fended off Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin, danced to the slot and appeared to have Ward badly out position. But Malkin flat-out missed the shot and the net. He busted his stick in two off the bench in frustration at the end of the shift.
-As we stated above, the Penguins were much better than last night. They seemed to have a lot more cohesion than they did Friday. They generated the bulk of scoring chances tonight.
-The top line was once again composed of left wingers Chris Kunitz, Conor Sheary and Sidney Crosby and while they didn't connect on a goal, they once again looked to be on the same page throughout the game.
-The second line was different. Malkin and Kessel were teamed with Hornqvist who was placed on the left wing. Hornqvist has almost exclusively been used as a right winger during his time with the Penguins. We were curious how he would look playing his off wing and he seemed fine. Sometimes, players put in those positions seem completely out of touch when they jump wings like that. Remember Jarome Iginla on the left wing? Hornqvist seemed comfortable. He flipped sides every once in a while with Kessel but for the most part, he was on the left side.
-Given how ... let's say... uncreative Hornqvist's game is, maybe it's easy for him to make that switch. We don't mean that as an insult. He's a meat-and-potatoes kind of player. He's not going to try to make any sort of dazzling rushes off the wings. He just goes to the net and barges around.
-The third line of centers Nick Bonino, Kevin Porter and and left winger David Perron played a solid but hardly spectacular game.
-Ditto the fourth line of centers Matt Cullen, Eric Fehr and left winger Sergei Plotnikov.
-Trevor Daley continues to look like a really good fit here. He took over as the quarterback on the top power play unit and things just seemed to be calm with him there. And in five-on-five play, he continued to look pretty smooth playing with Maatta. In the midst of this team's turmoil the past week, Daley's steadily improving play has been a ray of sunshine.
-Defenseman Ian Cole was presumably a healthy scratch and replaced by defenseman Adam Clendening. We can't say the Clendening-David Warsofsky defensive pairing looked all that significant but Warsofsky certainly played a much better game than he did Friday.
-Other than Staal's goal, Murray looked pretty sharp. He kicked out safe rebounds and never seemed to swim around his crease in panic. Granted, the Hurricanes didn't generate much in five-on-five play but Murray played well enough to win.
-Ward was pretty good. He saw a lot of pucks and plenty of quality scoring chances. He was pretty tuned in. At the same time, the Penguins shot a lot of just low percentage shots right into his chest or pads.
-You tend to forget how physically imposing Staal can be. He's not a big, mean ornery son of a gun like Kings left winger Milan Lucic by any means but he just kind of bullies his way around without realizing he's as big and strong as he really is. The Penguins could really use that part of his game these days.
-Malkin kind of summed up the night perfectly:
"It's one goal. It's not enough. We scored a power-play goal but it's just one goal. We need [to] score a couple goals maybe five-on-five. We play better but it's [a] tough loss."
-Malkin expanded on his team's limited offensive output:
"We had great chances to score but I know it's still bad luck. I don't know what's going on. I see we play better. … We talk at bench. We [are] pretty together. We [are] tight. But it's a tough loss again.... We have one game before [Christmas] break. It's still two points. We need [a] win. Just win.
Crosby spoke about playing better tonight:
"It's got to be getting points. That's got to be the focus. But yeah, I think we were better than last night. We don't really feel that way right now. I think if you look at the game, we were definitely better."
-Head coach Mike Sullivan also spoke of progress:
"I think as a team we generated a lot of scoring chances. I thought our immediacy of play has been as good as its been since I've been here. I don't think we got rewarded for our efforts but I think I see signs of improvement in a lot of areas. I thought we limited Carolina's chances at our end of the rink. I thought our power-play was better. There was much more motion. There was much more pro-active puck movement and movement with a purpose. And we scored. For me, there's a lot of positive things to look at to take out of this game. And that's what I told our players."
"We didn't get scored on [in five-on-five play]. I think we probably out-chanced them. I thought we played most of the game in their end. We out-shot them but we've got to find ways to win hockey games."
-Sullivan on trying to keep a positive message:
"My experience in going through these types of circumstances is sometimes you feel like you're sludging uphill. But when you continue to try to improve your game and play the right way, it starts to turn. You may not get the result right away but it does turn. I feel better about our team tonight because I thought it was a solid effort on a lot of fronts.”
-Daley echoed that positive message:
"I think so for sure. I think we didn't give up anything five-on-five. I thought we were the better team five-on-five. We just didn't get the outcome. You've got to take something out of games like this. Little slides like this, you've got to take stuff out of this. You've got to stay positive. We're going to turn the ship the right way. We've got to stay positive."
-Kessel had 20:31 of ice time and no shots on net. He did have one attempted shot. Sullivan talked about his lack of shots:
“It would be nice if he got more shots. It would be nice if he ended up on the scoresheet. Obviously, he's a gifted scorer. He's a gifted offensive player. I think a lot of our guys are running into this circumstance right now."
-Crosby spoke about Daley's presence on the top power play:
“He's really mobile. That's probably his biggest strength, just his mobility. Carrying the puck up the ice and then working the blue line. He's pretty smooth up there. Just able to settle things down up top, especially with a team like Carolina that pressures a lot. He showed a lot of poise in all areas."
-Sullivan lauded Daley as well:
“Trevor on the power play I think is obvious. He's a mobile guy. He's an offensive guy. He's got good instincts. We're trying to tweak things and we're doing this on the fly without any practice time. I liked what I saw tonight with that group. Like I said, I thought they were much more proactive and instinctive with just their motion and their movement, their puck movement. If we can keep them in that mindset, I think we'll have success. I thought Trevor really helped back there."
-Daley spoke about being a power-play quarterback previously in his career:
"I did it a lot last year in Dallas. The power play at the start of the year, I did it a lot. When you get the chance to be on the ice with world-class hockey players, it's not that hard."
-Daley spoke about the Hurricanes getting three power-play chances in the first period:
“You give a teams a chance and they're going to bury it, especially when you give them enough chances.”
Sullivan lauded Murray's game:
"I though he played a solid game. He settled in I think after the first goal. I thought he settled into a rhythm. I thought he made some timely saves for us in the second or third period that kept us within a goal or two. So for his first NHL game under difficult circumstances, I thought he did a really good job."
"First game, maybe he's a little bit nervous but he did a great job. Stop puck. Two power play goals. One I think it touched [a] defneseman and [the other] is a breakaway. He did a great job and we need to support him. Maybe he plays next game and we win."
Sullivan spoke about using Hornqvist as a left wing:
"As far as Patric playing the left side, what I love about his game is he hunts pucks, he goes to the net, he plays in the dirty areas. He plays hard. He plays hard. And I thought that that line needed somebody to help them get the puck back. When I look down the lineup and I look down the roster, from what I've seen in the short time that I've been there, he's one of our better guys at doing that. Now, ideally could we play him on the right side? Yeah, we'd like to do that but it's not a perfect world. He's played the left side before. I've asked him. He doesn't mind playing that side. … But I love the way he plays. I think he's a guy that regardless of what line he's on, because of his work ethic, his blue collar approach … I just think he helps guys get the puck back."
-Malkin described the shot he missed in the third period:
“I just missed the net. I know it's tough but I see hole. It's low blocker. I don't know. Maybe just a little bit rushed but I had time to look more. Shoot a little bit higher but just missed the net. Maybe a little bit tired. It's a long shift. It's tough to say what's going on . But I hope next game I'm [scoring], you know?”
-Staal kind of gave a metaphysical response when asked about the Penguins' scoring woes:
"This league can do a lot of things on the mind sometimes. They'll be just fine. They'll get out of it I'm sure."
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 38-26.
-Sheary led the game with six shots.
-The only Penguins player - other than Murray - who failed to get a shot on net was Kessel.
-Centers Victor Rask and Andrej Nestrasil each led the Hurricanes with five shots.
-Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk led the game with 25:57 of ice time.
-Malkin led the Penguins with 23:07 of ice time.
-The Penguins had a 26-24 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Malkin was 10 for 18 (56 percent).
-Hurricanes center Jay McClement was 7 for 9 (78 percent).
-Pesce led the game with three blocked shots.
-None of the Penguins had more than one blocked shot.
-Murray made his NHL debut. He became the 61st goaltender to play in a regular season game for the Penguins.
-The Penguins snapped a 0-for-19 skid on the power play and scored their first power-play goal in seven games.
-Daley recorded his first career assist with the Penguins.
-Kessel played in his 700th career game.
-Defenseman Ben Lovejoy played in his 300th career game.
(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
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Janet Yellen raised interest rates for the first time since 2006, a clear show of confidence in the economy by the Fed.