The Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Carolina Hurricanes in Tuesday’s on the road match at the PNC Arena. Corvo pushed the Hurricanes to a 1-0 lead in the first period with an early power play shot. Bortuzzo instantly answered with a goal of his own, tying the score at 1-1. With just over six minutes left in the first period, Brenden Morrow picked up his first goal as a member of the Penguins. The Hurricanes answered with a goal from Sanguinetti that brought the game to another tie at 2-2.
Neither team scored in the second period, holding each other off defensively. The third period picked up with a quick score by the Hurricanes to put them in the lead 3-2. The Penguins answered at roughly the ten-minute mark with back-to-back goals from Bennett and Malkin mere seconds apart.
In the last seconds of the game, Du Puis picked up a fifth goal, taking advantage of the Hurricanes’ empty net. The Pens finished up with a 5-3 victory, their second win in a row.
The Pens were on fire for the entire month of March with a nonstop fifteen game winning streak, tying the New York Rangers’ record for second most consecutive wins. The boys were just two shy of setting a new NHL record. On top of the impressive chain of victories, the Pens shut out opponents the Canadiens, the Jets and the Islanders three games in a row. The drought came thanks to a combination of Vokoun’s goaltending and Cooke and Glass slamming the offense into the boards.
Notably, all of this was achieved with the loss of hometown hero Evgeni Malkin for nine games and temporary loss of superstar goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury for injuries. Vokoun stepped in for Fleury and stepped up his game to keep the shutouts coming.
Such record-breaking play could not be sustained for much longer.
The Pens struggled through two of their last three games. The April 2 game against the Sabres resulted in a 4-1 loss, and the next day’s game against the Rangers set them back with a harsh 6-1 fall. The Pens took back a win against the Rangers at home on April 5 with a narrow victory of 2-1.
A great deal of the struggle may be attributed to the adversity the Pens are facing with multiple injured players. Goal scoring guru and hometown hero Sidney Crosby took a puck to the face in March 30’s game against the Islanders. Suffering from a jaw injury, the forward has gone on record saying he is feeling better but is unsure when he will return. Paul Martin has been out with a hand injury and will debatably be back in time for play offs. Kris Letang is still out on injured leave as well, and James Neal, whose game has been top-notch as of late, is out indefinitely with a concussion.
The Pens’ next game will be on the road against the Lightning tonight at 7:30 p.m.