Miracles don’t happen overnight. Despite adding forwards James Neal from Dallas and Alexei Kovalev from Ottawa in midweek trades, the Penguins offense remained impotent in a 4-1 loss at Carolina Friday night.
After being outshot 9-6 in the first period by the Hurricanes who took a 2-0 lead, the Penguins dominated time of possession in the second period and tallied 16 shots to Carolina’s six. After Eric Cole gave the Canes a commanding 3-0 lead, Pascal Dupuis answered for the Pens to close the gap.
Jussi Jokinen squashed any drama with his even-strength goal in the third to close the scoring. Jokinen’s wrister was the only shot that beat relief goalie Brent Johnson. Starter Marc-Andre Fleury allowed three goals on just 11 shots against.
Pittsburgh’s top line of Neal-Jordan Staal-Kovalev showed the talent and dangerous weaponry that the organization desperately needs. Unfortunately, none of the sizzle turned into steak. Although he couldn’t manage a shot on goal, Kovalev did get on the rap sheet with two minor penalties.
The irony of it all, is of course that Sidney Crosby has been yearning for an accomplished winger that could finish off his wizardry. Well, the Penguins line-up now features two legitimate front-line wingers. The only problem is there is no Sidney Crosby.
Speaking of downed centers. The Canes lost Eric Staal in this game after the captain was drilled by another new Penguin, Matt Niskanen. The injury, of unknown severity, comes days after Eric Staal eliminated his youngest brother Marc, a defenseman for the Rangers, with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit that combined with a knee injury to keep Marc out of tonight’s game against Washington.