Another comeback, but this one dooms Pens
Two nights after the Penguins' nine-game winless streak came to an end with a stunning comeback, there was yet another comeback at Mellon Arena.
Only, it wasn't the Penguins doing it.
This time, they were on the side that watched its lead evaporate as the Carolina Hurricanes scored four third-period goals, including two on the power play, for a 5-3 victory Saturday night.
And the Penguins, now at 1-5-5 on the season, are right back where they were before Thursday night's win with a day off today and a five-game road trip stretching out directly ahead of them.
"The team was playing so well, it's shocking," said goaltender Sebastien Caron, who faced 18 shots in the third period, four more shots than in the first two combined. "It's like you don't know what to do. Next thing you know, you back up and they score two goals, three goals. It's so awful."
The Penguins led, 3-1, going into the third period after scoring three consecutive goals between John LeClair's tally at 14:06 of the first to tie it, a 5-on-3 power play goal from Sergei Gonchar to take the lead at 2:06 of the second, and an unassisted number by Ziggy Palffy at 8:24.
Shots were 24-9 in favor of the Penguins after two periods. They'd killed 4-of-5 penalties and were 1-for-5 on the advantage.
But all that changed in the third.
A tripping penalty on Mark Recchi at 9:53 of the third, followed by a hooking call on Ryan Malone a minute later, gave the Hurricanes a 5-on-3 advantage. The Penguins killed Recchi's penalty, but Malone was still in the box when Rod Brind'amour tapped one in from the corner to bring the Hurricanes to within one at 12:24.
Glen Wesley tied a little more than a minute later at even strength, with a shot from the point that was reviewed but stood. Then, at 16:14, Sidney Crosby was called for interference. Thirty seconds later, Ray Whitney slipped a rebound between Caron's legs to give the Hurricanes the lead, and Justin Williams scored an empty-netter at the end.
"We got a 5-on-3, and did a pretty good job there. But, then, the 5-on-4, I have to get the puck out there," Recchi said. "It was 3-2, we were still in the driver's seat. But that's the stuff we have to do. After that, we really sat back on our heels, and we didn't really play after that. It was really a lesson for us. You can't sit back against teams. You have to make sure you keep pressing and keep forechecking."
The Hurricanes were coming off a come-from-behind victory, scoring five goals in the third period the night before at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"We didn't seem to have our legs under us for 40 minutes," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "(Friday night) was pretty emotional, and we were feeling the effects of that a little bit. We had four games in six nights, and travel, and the emotion that comes back from coming back so many times. We knew that if we could score one, that there's a chance that we could pick up a little bit of momentum. We played a pretty good third period."