NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Carolina|
(Tuesday, April 9th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 5, Carolina 3
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Evgeni Malkin and Beau Bennett's goals 13
seconds apart midway through the third period proved to be the difference as
the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes
to clinch the Atlantic Division.
Pascal Dupuis sealed the win, which assured the Penguins no worse than a No. 2
seed in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs, with an empty-net goal while
contributing two assists. Brenden Morrow and Robert Bortuzzo also scored to
help support a 25-save effort from Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins last captured the Atlantic Division crown in 2008, a year in
which the team eventually lost to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals.
"We've always had good teams, we just haven't been able to win it with our
division being so tough," said defenseman Brooks Orpik. "So I think it's
definitely a good thing for us, especially in the shortened season. It's been
a grind here; we still have a ways to go."
Carolina had taken a 3-2 lead on Riley Nash's tally two minutes into the third
period, before surrendering three unanswered scores en route to a franchise-
record eighth consecutive defeat on home ice.
Joe Corvo and Bobby Sanguinetti potted goals as well for the spiraling
Hurricanes, now losers of six straight overall and 1-12-1 over their last 14
games. Justin Peters stopped 28-of-32 shots in the setback.
"I think every night for the last four or five games, we've come ready to
compete," said Nash. "Really, we're just coming out on the wrong end. It's
tough to watch because all these guys compete so hard."
With the Penguins down 3-2, Craig Adams created a 3-on-2 rush before giving
the puck off to Bennett -- just recalled from the minors as a replacement for
an injured James Neal. The rookie skated in on Peters and found an opening
with a backhand try to knot the score with 10:11 left to play.
Shortly after the ensuing faceoff, Pittsburgh's Jarome Iginla intercepted an
intended clearing attempt and put forth a shot on goal. Peters turned back the
chance, but Malkin came in uncontested from the left side to bang home the
carom for the go-ahead score.
Peters was pulled with around a minute to go, but the Hurricanes failed to
establish an attack and had their fate sealed when Dupuis came up with a
takeaway and flicked the puck from the neutral zone into the vacated net two
seconds prior to the final whistle.
"Beau got us a big goal and then Geno topped it off," said Morrow. "It was
just a full effort by the whole team. Those wins feel great."
The Hurricanes drew first blood during a high-scoring first period,
capitalizing on an early 4-on-3 power play that ended when Corvo whipped a
wrister past Fleury following a faceoff win by ex-Penguin Jordan Staal. The
goal came just 4:06 after the opening whistle.
Pittsburgh pulled even just 92 seconds later, when Bortuzzo jumped in from the
back end to tip home a well-placed centering feed from Dupuis for the rookie's
second career NHL goal.
Morrow's first marker as a Penguin put his new team ahead with 6:11 left in
the frame. After receiving a backhand pass from former Hurricane Jussi
Jokinen, the recent trade acquisition skated past Carolina's Zac Dalpe before
firing a shot while falling to the ice, beating Peters to the stick side.
The Hurricanes responded less than two minutes afterward on Sanguinetti's
second career goal, a blast from the left point that Fleury failed to pick up
while battling traffic in front.
Neither team lit the lamp during a second period that saw tighter checking on
both sides, with Pittsburgh coming up empty on a pair of power-play chances in
Carolina struck quickly in the third, however, with Nash backhanding a rebound
of teammate Tuomo Ruutu's attempt that Fleury initially stopped to put the
Hurricanes back in front two minutes into the stanza.
Adams also finished with two assists ... Jokinen was playing in just his
second game with the Penguins since being traded by the Hurricanes to
Pittsburgh last Wednesday. He spent five seasons with Carolina ... In addition
to being without NHL leading scorer Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) for a fourth
straight game, the Penguins were also minus Neal due to a concussion sustained
in Friday's 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers ... Hurricanes
defenseman Justin Faulk, out since Mar. 19 with a sprained knee, returned to
the team's lineup along with forward Alexander Semin, who had missed two
straight tests with an upper-body injury ... Morrow potted 243 goals over 13
seasons with the Dallas Stars, who dealt the seasoned wing to Pittsburgh on
Mar. 24 ... Pittsburgh improved to 9-3-0 against Southeast clubs this season
and 23-8-1 in their last 32 matchups against the division.
04/10 00:09:18 ET