Penguins hang on in 3-1 victory over Carolina Hurricanes
February 22 2017 09:59 PM
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (No 87) scores a second period goal past Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward at PNC Arena. PICTURE: USA TODAY Sports

By Dave Molinari/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There was nothing easy about the Penguins’ 3-1 victory Tuesday night against Carolina at PNC Arena.
Mostly because they spent much of the first two periods causing problems for themselves. They went in front late in the second period on a Sidney Crosby goal, however, and hung on for a victory that raised their record to 37-14-8.
“They’re always able to get us a goal when we need it,” winning goalie Matt Murray said.
They are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind Washington.
The Penguins played most of the game without defenseman Trevor Daley, who did not take a shift after logging about 8 { minutes of ice time during the first period.
There was no immediate explanation for his absence.
The Penguins already were missing defensemen Justin Schultz (concussion) and Olli Maatta (hand), who were injured Wednesday. They began the game without center Nick Bonino, who was ill. His spot in
the lineup went to Carter Rowney, who had been scratched the previous two games. “We got into some penalty trouble and took a lot from our momentum and getting the start we wanted,” Crosby said. “It took us a while, but we finally got a lead.”
Scott Wilson, who hadn’t scored a goal in his previous 19 games, staked the Penguins to a 1-0 lead at 2:15 of the opening period, when he deflected a Patric Hornqvist shot past Carolina goalie Cam Ward for his sixth of the season. Hornqvist got the only assist.
Wilson’s goal marked the eighth time in their past nine road games that the Penguins opened the scoring.
But although they dominated the early minutes of play, that changed after Evgeni Malkin logged a pair of minors 21 seconds apart. His teammates killed the first, but Jeff Skinner pulled the Hurricanes even when he beat goalie Matt Murray from in front of the net with nine seconds remaining on the second.
The goal was made possible when Penguins center Matt Cullen, who was on the right side, flipped a pass toward the slot. Carolina intercepted it, and a second or so later, Skinner made it 1-1. The Hurricanes finished the period with a 14-7 edge in shots. Carolina continued to carry the play for most of the second, but the Penguins got the only goal during those 20 minutes. Crosby scored it - his league-leading 33rd - during a five-on-three power play at 16:21, when he set up at the right side of the crease and tipped a Phil Kessel shot past Ward.
Kris Letang received the second assist, his 298th in the NHL. Malkin provided a badly needed insurance goal at 9:41of the third, beating Ward from in front of the net after taking a feed from Carl Hagelin, who was behind the goal line.
The goal was Malkin’s 25th.
The Penguins, who are 25-0 when leading after two periods, will not play again until Saturday night, when they will face Philadelphia in an outdoors “Stadium Series” game at Heinz Field.

Blackhawks 5 Wild 3
Maple Leafs 5 Jets 4 (OT)
Islanders 3 Red Wings 1
Canadiens 3 Rangers 2 (SO)
Senators 2 Devils 1
Kings 2 Avalanche 1
Flames 6 Predators 5 (OT)

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