Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Canucks 3, Penguins 0 Battles Lost and Hope Abandoned Early 'One of ... Worst Efforts of the Year's Include Too Many Turnoutvers, Wasted Chances

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Canucks 3, Penguins 0 Battles Lost and Hope Abandoned Early 'One of ... Worst Efforts of the Year's Include Too Many Turnoutvers, Wasted Chances

Article excerpt

Blake Comeau probably could have found an excuse for what he had just witnessed.

Might not have taken all that much of an effort, actually.

After all, playing without the likes of Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Beau Bennett and Pascal Dupuis, all of whom spent the evening in street clothes because of medical issues, would raise the degree of difficulty for just about any team.

Comeau, though, wasn't interested in rationalizing the Penguins' 3-0 loss to Vancouver Thursday night at Consol Energy Center.

Rather, he assessed what had just happened -- and not happened -- with blistering candor: "That was, by far, one of our worst efforts of the year."

It didn't help that Canucks goalie Eddie Lack was flawless, stopping all 21 shots the Penguins [17-6-2] threw at him, or that Vancouver played the kind of efficient, opportunistic game that has made their 11-4 road record possible.

"They're a good team," Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta said. "There's a reason they're the best in the [Western Conference] right now. They took advantage our mistakes."

There certainly were enough of those to keep the Canucks busy.

All three Vancouver goals could be traced to Penguins turnovers, and Lack picked up his fifth career shutout, in part, because the Penguins were unable to convert several quality scoring chances.

Like when, during a first-period power play, Sidney Crosby hit the goalpost while shooting at an empty net.

Or when Brandon Sutter failed to capitalize on a short-handed breakaway.

Crosby remains tied for the NHL scoring lead, but has just two goals in the past 17 games.

"I had an open net," he said. "You get [a goal then], usually.

"I'd love to get more chances. I'm not too worried about not scoring. Eventually the puck goes in, but we need to get more chances, for sure."

That might be difficult if right winger Patric Hornqvist has a significant injury. …

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