Game Analysis: Penguins At Hurricanes

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes lost their third straight game Monday, falling to the Penguins 3-1 at PNC Arena. Nathan Gerbe scored Carolina's lone goal, and Justin Peters made 25 stops in falling to 0-3 on the season.

A return to PNC Arena didn't cure what is ailing the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes lost their third straight game after consecutive road losses, falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 on Monday.

Three Observations

1. Justin Peters kept the Hurricanes in the game Monday, but the difference between his play in the pipes and that of either Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin is evident. Peters’ rebound control is lacking, and the team seems to play a different game without one of their top goalies in net.

2. Elias Lindholm's one-time pass on Nathan Gerbe’s 5-on-3 goal gave a glimpse of the soft hands the 18-year-old possesses. Lindholm and Alexander Semin played catch to Marc-Andre Fleury’s right, then Lindholm snapped a pass right to Gerbe in the slot to tie the game at 1. Lindholm played arguably his best game as an NHLer and was rewarded with a career-high 17:30 of ice time — nearly four minutes more than his previous high.

3. As Carolina continues to search for offense, Ryan Murphy is seeing more and more ice time. Monday marked the third straight game with 20-plus minutes for the rookie defenseman, and while Murphy is without a point in those games and is still stuck at five points through 11 outings, he continues to gain confidence. Furthermore, he's held his own in his own end and hasn't been the huge liability many thought he would be given his size and experience.

Number To Know

2.17 — Goals per game for the Hurricanes through 12 games this season, ranking 25th in the NHL. It's hard to imagine Carolina continuing at such a futile pace, but for now the Canes are on track for their lowest goal output since 2003-04. In that season, the Hurricanes averaged just 2.1 goals per game — ranking last in the league — and Josef Vasicek wound up leading the team with just 19 goals, 26 assists and 45 points.

Plus

Alexander Semin — Semin was a threat every time he was on the ice Monday. He picked up a secondary assist on Carolina's lone goal, giving him points in four straight games, and had the majority of the Hurricanes’ best scoring chances.

Minus

Eric Staal — Carolina’s captain struggled to make an impact Monday, and if the Canes are going to win — regardless of who is in net — they need Staal to produce. Last season's magical connection with Semin and Jiri Tlusty is gone, so much so that Tlusty has been relegated to other lines, and with it has gone Carolina's goal scoring.

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