The Carolina Hurricanes fought hard all game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but their effort fell by the wayside losing 8-3, in the team’s final game of the season on Saturday.
The Penguins led 3-1 at one point in the second period, but the Canes scored twice in a thirty-seven second span to tie the game. Tuomo Ruutu scored the Hurricanes’ second goal when Penguins’ defenseman Simon Despres misplayed the puck with his skate in the Penguins crease. The puck ricocheted to Ruutu, who put the puck under the crossbar.
Kevin Westgarth scored his first two goals of the season. The first coming off of a shaky rebound from Marc-Andre Fleury that both Westgarth and Jiri Tlusty got their sticks on to force into the net. The goal was later awarded to Westgarth. The right-winger’s second goal was more impressive as he took a shot from the top of the circle after a face-off win that glanced off Paul Martin and into the Penguins’ net.
Going into the second intermission the game was tied at 3-3 and it looked like the Hurricanes would be able to add one more win to their season, but the Penguins completely dominated the third period.
Eric Staal scored in the opening seconds of the third period, but was waved off because Jared Staal interfered with Fleury. Instead of just waving the goal off, the referees decided that Jared Staal deserved a penalty rather than an incidental contact call. On the ensuing power-play James Neal scored his second of three goals that swung momentum in the Penguins favor.
Fifteen minutes later, the Penguins had decisively won the game by an 8-3 score with goals coming from Neal(2), Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis in the third period. Former Hurricane Jussi Jokinen also scored a goal and added an assist for the Pens.
Justin Peters did not look strong in net for the Canes as he had in his most recent games. It’s possible that the long break in between games hurt him as they have in previous seasons.
Putting in a strong effort, but failing to win has been the story of the Hurricanes this season and on Saturday the game was an indication of the whole season.