The Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Carolina Hurricanes with a very shorthanded lineup. No Sidney Crosby, no Paul Martin, no Kris Letang, and just recently added to that list with a concussion was James Neal.
The Penguins would get no sympathy from the Hurricanes, who had lost 12 of their last 13 and seven straight at home going into the game Tuesday night. But even though the Penguins were shorthanded, they outworked the Hurricanes for a 5-3 victory, clinching the Atlantic Division.
It was the Hurricanes striking first on a 4-on-3 power play. Joe Corvo wristed his sixth of the season past a screened Marc-Andre Fleury. It didn’t take the Penguins long to answer as Robert Bortuzzo went to the front of the net and tipped the puck behind Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters for his second of the season.
The Penguins would grab the lead in the first period when Brenden Morrow scored his first goal as a Penguin, going backhand to forehand after a great no-look pass by Jussi Jokinen. Just as the Hurricanes 1-0 lead didn’t last long, the Penguins’ 2-1 lead didn’t either, as Bobby Sanguinetti was able to tie it.
Each team had their opportunities in the second period to gain the lead, especially the Penguins, who had two power plays but were unable to cash in.
In a game where it appeared the next goal was going to be the difference, it was the Hurricanes grabbing the next one, by Riley Nash two minutes into the period. However, that did not stop the Penguins from working and scoring two goals in 13 seconds to get a 4-3 lead.
The first goal was scored by rookie Beau Bennett, his third of the season, driving to the net on his backhand. His shot went off the goalie then off a defenseman in front of the net and behind Peters. The next goal was scored by Evgeni Malkin as he was able to jab a rebound past Peters for his seventh goal of the season.
Pascal Dupuis sealed the win for the Penguins with an empty-net goal with less than two seconds left. The Penguins will look to pick up another victory on Thursday when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning.