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Youth Is Served in Carolina: Hurricanes 3, Penguins 2 (OT)

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The Carolina Hurricanes won their second consecutive overtime battle as they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, (OT)  Saturday afternoon at Mellon Arena.

Injuries have forced the Hurricanes to insert youth into their lineup, perhaps a bit quicker than they wanted.  Justin Peters was called in to replace Cam Ward and Jamie McBain was recalled this week after Tim Gleason broke a bone in his foot.  

But both youngsters have come through big time for the Canes.  

McBain scored his first career NHL goal with 0.9 seconds left in overtime as the Canes outlasted the Pens during a frantic overtime period.   The former Hobey Baker finalist now has four points, (1G 3A) in his first three NHL games.  He has also played well in his own end.

Justin Peters was called upon to enter the game midway through the second period when Manny Legace was run over and injured.   The young goalie made 15 saves on 17 attempts and stood on his head in the extra period as the Pens threw everything but the kitchen sink at him. 

Speaking of youth, Zach Boychuk scored the game's first goal when Joni Pitkanen fed him a puck as he crashed the net, just 6:48 into the game.  The puck went in the net off the rookie's shin pad and was his third career NHL goal.

The Hurricanes dominated the opening period as they out-shot the Pens 9-4.

The Penguins came back in the second period and evened the score when Jordan Staal notched a powerplay tally with just 18 seconds left in the period. 

The third period went back and forth until Evgeni Malkin rifled a nice shot past Peters with seven minutes left in the game.  But the Canes did not give up and continued to pressure diligently in the Penguins' zone. 

They were finally rewarded when Eric Staal fed Joni Pitkanen a perfect pass and the Finn hit the post as he buried his open shot.  Pitkanen was a beast in this game and played over 34 minutes.  He finished with a goal, an assist, and had two blocked shots for his effort.  He was literally all over the ice.

Time ran out in regulation with the score 2-2 and the two teams would be headed for overtime once again.  Peters made a couple of "grade A" stops, Chad LaRose hit the post, and it looked like fans would be treated to a shootout.  But LaRose got the puck out to McBain, who settled it for a second before blasting a shot over Marc-Andre Fleury for the game winner.  

Paul Maurice said after the game that Legace should be able to go tomorrow against Buffalo as a backup, but time will tell. Sunday's game starts at 5 p.m. at the RBC.

Game Notes:

  • Carolina outshot Pittsburgh 29-25, led by Eric Staal, Brian Pothier, and McBain who had four each.
  • Peters picked up the win and now is 6-2 since his call up.  He passed another test today by showing that he could enter a game cold, and still perform well.
  • Chad LaRose had another showcase game but was stymied on a breakaway attempt by Fleury who must have seen the backhander coming.  LaRose nearly won the game near the end of regulation as well as in OT.
  • The team had 13 blocked shots led by Pothier with three.
  • Bryan Rodney also played well and chipped in with an assist.