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(Friday, December 27th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 4, Carolina 3 (OT)
Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - James Neal scored 63 seconds into overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, at PNC Arena.
Neal led a rush through the neutral zone before working a give-and-go with Jussi Jokinen at the Carolina blueline. Neal took the return feed as he drove down the slot and fired a shot past Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters.
The Penguins erased a 2-1 deficit and grabbed the lead with third-period goals by Chris Conner and Deryk Engelland, but Carolina pulled even at 3-3 on Drayson Bowman's wraparound goal with 2:29 remaining.
Neal added two assists and Jokinen finished with three helpers for the Penguins, who have won eight of their last nine games. Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves to earn the win in his 500th career game.
The Penguins received a mixed bag of news on the injury front Friday. Defenseman Brooks Orpik (concussion) and forward Tanner Glass (broken hand) were both activated from injured reserve and played against the Hurricanes, but the season may be over for forward Pascal Dupuis, who will undergo surgery to repair a damaged ACL in his knee.
Nathan Gerbe had a goal and an assist for Carolina, which has dropped four straight and seven of eight overall. Peters stopped 22 shots.
"It would have been nice to get two points," Peters said. "Getting a late goal was a big booster because you get that point."
The Hurricanes had the better of the play in the first period, as they more than doubled Pittsburgh in shots (16-7). Fleury was strong for the Penguins, but he was beaten late by Andrej Sekera. The Carolina defenseman took a feed from Jordan Staal and whipped a backhander past Fleury's glove with 1.8 seconds left.
"We got caught in their pressure game. They pressured hard and came at us," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said about the first period.
Sidney Crosby netted the equalizer on a backhander 16 seconds into the second period for Pittsburgh, but Gerbe put Carolina back on top 14 seconds later. The diminutive forward won a net-front battle and slipped the puck behind Fleury.
Crosby extended his point streak against Carolina to 10 games. He has registered three goals and 13 assists over that span ... The Penguins have now won five straight against the Hurricanes ... Engelland returned to the Pittsburgh lineup after serving a five-game suspension ... Carolina placed forward Jiri Tlusty and defenseman Jay Harrison (concussion) on injured reserve before the game. Tlusty is expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks after he underwent an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday ... The Hurricanes also activated goaltender Anton Khudobin (ankle) from IR and assigned him to Charlotte of the American Hockey League for a conditioning stint.
12/27 23:33:58 ET
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