Five Observations: Back-To-Backs Vs. Penguins, At Rangers

The Carolina Hurricanes extended their goalless drought at the RBC Center to six periods and were shut out at home for the second straight game, losing 3-0 to Pittsburgh. The Canes are now 0-2 in Raleigh (the team's home record is actually 1-2, since one of the games in Finland officially counts as a home date) and finished October with a respectable 5-5 record, having defeated the Rangers the night before in New York.

Here are five observations from the back-to-back games.

1. After a three-point night Friday against the Rangers that saw him score two goals, rookie Jeff Skinner boosted his point total to seven points. Since Carolina was shut out Saturday, he currently has the total in 10 games. That's good for a tie for second among all NHL rookies, and the most of any player selected in the 2010 draft. The top two picks are next, with Boston's Tyler Seguin with five points in eight games and Edmonton's Taylor Hall with five in nine games.

2. Only Atlanta’s Chris Mason, who was carried the load in Atlanta since Ondrej Pavelec went out with his mysterious injury, has seen more rubber this season than Carolina goalie Cam Ward. In nine games, Ward has faced 326 shots (36.2 per game) and stopped 301 (33.4 per game) for a .923 save percentage. Mason has 306 saves on 339 shots (.903 S%).

3. Eric Staal's faceoffs have improved, but Brandon Sutter's continue to be abysmal. He won 2 of 14 against the Pens and 5 of 20 Friday vs. the Rangers. On the season his percentage is just 30.2 percent, far and away the worst among anyone in the NHL with at least 100 faceoffs taken. Staal is next at 39.4 percent, followed by Buffalo's Derek Roy (39.7).

4. It's 10 games into the season, and Tim Gleason has just two penalty minutes — the fewest among Carolina's defensemen (Joni Pitkanen leads with 12). Other than 2006-07 when Mike Commodore had 113 PIMs, Gleason has led the Carolina defense in penalty minutes every season since coming to Raleigh. His 15 hits are low by his standards, but still lead the defense corps. So the Canes are still getting bang for the bucks, but without the sin bin time. Oh, and Brandon Sutter — of course — still has not visited the box this year after taking just one minor all of last season. Patrick Dwyer is the only other player to play in all 10 games without taking a penalty. Zac Dalpe (seven games), Sergei Samsonov (six), and Jiri Tlusty (two) have all avoided the box so far as well. Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu lead the forwards with 12 PIMs each.

5. There have been plenty of joking references to the Hurricanes’ Simpsons-esque duo of Jamie McBain and Skinner, but the Penguins added another twist by having Ben "The Revered" Lovejoy playing defense Saturday night. Now if it had only been broadcast on Versus with Christine Simpson reporting rinkside...

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