The Penguins, playing terrible of late, failed to defeat the lowly Hurricanes, who previously had six goals in their last seven games. Carolina won by a score of 5-2.
Carolina star center Eric Staal had a goal and two assists and was named first star of the game and goaltender Cam Ward made 27 saves as Carolina, currently in the cellar of the Metropolitan Division, defeated Pittsburgh, who is third in the division.
Former Cane Brandon Sutter scored the first goal for the Penguins on a scramble in front of the net with assists from Sidney Crosby and Ben Lovejoy just 3:54 into the first period, but the Pens couldn’t build on a rare fast start. Staal scored just two minutes later, the lone assist going to his brother Jordan, who was traded for Sutter four years ago.
At 8:07 of the first period, the final goal of the initial period was scored by Ryan Murphy to make the score 2-1.
Two goals were scored in the second, both by Carolina. Those two goals sealed the game for Hurricanes, who had lost eight-of-ten games coming into the game at PNC Arena.
Jay McClement’s seventh goal made it a two score game. Later in the middle period, Alexander Semin scored with assists from Riley Nash and Eric Staal.
A power-play goal made the lead 5-1 in the third period. Andrej Nestrasil scored the fifth goal, making the lead insurmountable for the Penguins.
Pens defenseman Ian Cole scored later in the final period, but it was clearly not enough, as Pittsburgh lost a game that they never should have lost.
The Hurricanes, who are jockeying more for draft lottery position than playoff position, are a team that the Penguins need to beat. Entering the stretch run on a tough streak, Pittsburgh needs to take advantage of what should be an easier game. While injuries to Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist may effect the Pens’ overall game plan, this is still a game that they need to win.