The Pittsburgh Penguins could have clinched the Metropolitan Division crown with a win, but instead will have to wait as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated them, 4-1 on Tuesday night, at the CONSOL Energy Center.
The win broke up a five game winning streak by the Pens over Carolina as well as a six game streak in Pittsburgh.
Elias Lindholm scored twice, his first multi-goal game in the NHL, Jeff Skinner and Andrei Loktionov each had two assists, and Anton Khudobin made 30 saves to lead the Canes.
The Hurricanes started off slowly again and they were being out-shot by an 11-1 margin at the 10 minute mark of the first period, but they turned things around from that point on and had the better of the play.
The Penguins had a penalty shot just 2:26 into the game but Khudobin did not bite on the fake and took up most of the net as Brian Gibbons shot wide on his attempt.
About midway through the opening period, the home team jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Chris Kunitz scored his 35th of the season.
The Canes were able to tie the game on a long, wicked shot by Justin Faulk with 5:21 left in the period.
In the second period, hard work by Skinner, Lindholm, and the rest of Carolina's youth finally started to pay off.
Skinner took the puck behind the net and fed Lindholm out front during a powerplay chance and the rookie made no mistake. Loktionov picked up the second assist as the "young guns" group of Skinner, Lindholm, Nash, Loktionov, and in this case Jay Harrison, continue to out-perform the older player's grouping during the man advantage.
Later in the period, Skinner helped create a turnover and Lindholm gathered the loose puck before beating Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 3-1.
In the third period, Loktionov kept his hot production going as he sent a puck toward the net that Eric Staal was able to chip in to make it 4-1, Canes.
The team held on the rest of the way as the Penguins attacked but could not score again.
Things do not get any easier for Carolina as they return home to take on the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
- Officially, the Canes went 1-1 on the powerplay and killed off the chance the Pens had.
- Khudobin was very good early on and kept the team in the game until they "found their legs". He ended up making 30 saves on 31 shots for the night while his counterpart Fleury had 24 saves on 28 shots.
- Everyone saw good playing time in this game as low man was Drayson Bowman with 10:28 of TOI. High man was Faulk with 24:59.
- Lindholm led the team with five shots on goal and no doubt the coaches will be wanting him to shoot more often. While Skinner did not score, he looked very good in this game setting up his friend.
- Skinner now has a six game point streak.
- Carolina had 17 blocked shots and were led by John-Michael Liles with four.
- Check out post-game interviews at Canes PR.com.