Fleury and Penguins Come-Back Win Clinches Atlantic Division
Athletic save by Marc Andre-Fluery against Zac Dalpe. Pittsburgh defeated Carolina 5-3 on Tuesday night (Inside Hockey/Greg Thompson)Athletic save by Marc Andre-Fluery against Zac Dalpe. Pittsburgh defeated Carolina 5-3 on Tuesday night (Inside Hockey/Greg Thompson)
The Pittsburgh Penguins skated into Raleigh on Tuesday night and against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes with their playoff spot already locked up. A victory would allow them to add a "Y" next to their name in the standings as Atlantic Division champs. Carolina refused to make things easy on Pittsburgh scoring first and then taking the lead again early in the third period, but two goals in 13 seconds and Marc-Andre Fleury holding off a flurry of shots late pushed them over the top.
“It’s something as a team where I think that’s always one of your goals,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “We’ve always had good teams, we just haven’t been able to win it with our division being so tough. 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. So I think we want to keep going. I don’t think we want to let our foot off the gas pedal here. We want to finish strong and carry that into the playoffs.”
Sloppy play for both teams was the story of the start of the first period. With Deryk Engelland and Kevin Westgarth already in the box for introducing their fists to each others faces, former Hurricane Craig Adams joined Engelland giving Carolina the man advantage. In an effort to keep things fair, Eric Staal decided to slash Mark Eaton and make things four-on-four. 19 seconds later the Hurricanes went back up a man when Chris Kunitz tripped Jeff Skinner. Joe Corvo made them pay for that and opened the scoring with a wrist shot from just inside his blue line. Only a minute later Robert Bortuzzo slides in behind Alexander Semin to take a pin-point pass from Pascal Dupuis and deposit it behind Carolina goalie Justin Peters. Later in the period Brendan Morrow received a no-look behind the back pass from Jussi Jokinen and made an amazing move to snap one into the net. Bobby Sanguinetti received a face-off win and scored his second of the year to knot the game at two.
The two teams carried their two all tie from the first period over to the final one. Riley Nash broke the tie when a rebound found him open in front of the net and he backhanded it past Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh stormed back on goals by Beau Bennett (tied the game) and then 13 seconds later Evgeni Malkin was in the right place at the right time to tip-in the eventual game winner. Pascal Dupuis deposited an unassisted empty netter just before the final horn to give the Penguins a 5-3 victory.
Problems at Home
-- The Hurricanes’ lost their franchise record eighth straight home game tonight (3/14-4/9: 0-8-0)
Keywords: Alexander Semin, Bobby Sanguinetti, Brooks Orpick, Carolina, Carolina Hurricanes, Chris Kunitz, Craig Adams, Deryk Engelland, Eric Staal, Evgeni Malkin, Feature, Hurricanes, Inside Hockey, Jeff Skinner, Joe Corvo, Jussi Jokinen, Kevin Westgarth, Marc-Andre Fleury, NHL, Pascal Dupuis, Penguins, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Penguins, Riley Nash, Robert Bortuzzo
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