The Carolina Hurricanes had an opportunity to pull closer to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night, but the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to fend off the Canes at PPG Paints Arena and strengthen their hold on a wild-card spot, winning by a score of 3-1.
After a high-paced, back and forth first period, the Hurricanes got on the board first in the second stanza. Derek Ryan was able to corral and slam home a rebound past Casey DeSmith and give the road team a lead.
Less then a minute later, the Penguins woke up. Dominik Simon was able to beat Cam Ward shot-side, then Jean-Sebastien Dea netted his first goal in the NHL just 1:16 later, quickly erasing Carolina’s lead and giving the Pens a 2-1 edge at the halfway point of the game.
The Hurricanes came out hot in the final period, peppering DeSmith early and often, but they couldn’t get the puck past the young goaltender. That came back to bite them when, with just under nine minutes to go in the third, Jake Guentzel found open space in front of Ward and increased Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-1.
Carolina put up a fight in the dying moments, but came up short as Justin Faulk hit the goal post and they weren’t able to cash in on their opportunities.
The loss hurts as now the Penguins have a five-point cushion on the Hurricanes, who have now lost four of their lats five games.
Ultimately, the Canes have to find ways to capitalize on scoring chances, and one of their goaltenders have to steal a game or two, in order for them to climb the standings and have a shot here in the second half of the season.
Next up is a game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
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