Carolina Hurricanes Pittsburgh Penguins Tristan Jarry

The Carolina Hurricanes faced the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena Sunday hoping to continue their win streak and sweep the season series against the Penguins. Instead, they fell 4-2 despite a valiant comeback effort.

Raanta returns

Antti Raanta was the starter in net Sunday, coming off of a 36-save shutout against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. He came out rolling, making a flaming-hot save on Kasperi Kapanen’s shot to open the period.

He let in one goal at the end of the first, but he wasn’t to blame. He had an impressive first period, and there wasn’t much he could do about “the one that got away.”

During the 40 minutes that followed, the trend continued. Raanta did all that he could to keep the Canes in the game, including a few more eye-catching saves. He only allowed one more goal from a Danton Heinen tip-in that was well-screened, so Raanta is far from where the blame should be directed.

PK does their thing

I know, I know. I write about this in every ALN I’ve ever written— but for good reason! It was one of the few positive attributes of Carolina’s game yesterday. The Canes penalty kill went a perfect 3/3, remaining atop the league. If only their power play had been so dangerous in their lone opportunity on the man-advantage, we may have had a closer game on our hands.

A comeback effort

The Canes were down 3-1 after an empty-netter from Sidney Crosby with less than two minutes to go. It wasn’t looking too optimistic. But fans were given a sliver of hope when Sebastian Aho pulled through with a wraparound shot to bury a loose puck and cut the deficit to just one goal with just under a minute and a half remaining.

This was the energy Canes fans expect to see throughout all 60 minutes (mostly because we’ve been blessed with it, more often than not).

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to gain the win, or even a point in OT. Zach Aston-Reese of the Penguins closed off any chances of a last-minute score with another empty-netter to double their lead and end the game 4-2.

“It was a good effort,” Aho said. “Guys worked hard. You know, that’s our thing. That’s what we build on. Effort was there but we’ve got to be a little bit sharper.”

The comeback efforts were clear to see, but they weren’t enough.

“I’m happy with this game, other than the result,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “We played hard, especially considering the [21 hour] turnaround [between games].”

What’s next?

The Canes (41-13-5) get a much-needed break and will travel to face the Toronto Maple Leafs (37-16-5) in Toronto Thursday night.

In the last matchup between these two, the Canes fell 4-3 in an OT loss and Tony Deangelo led the team with a goal and an assist for two points. He’s a key component of this team that’s missing at the moment, so the Canes will have to look to their other offensive threats to make up the difference.

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