RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.
Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.
Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina.
The Penguins took advantage of 64 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second with Sebastian Aho and Viktor Stalberg in the box. Phil Kessel skated in from the blue line and ripped a straightaway shot that clipped Crosby on its way past Ward to make it 2-1 with 3:39 left in the period.
Consider it a barometer goal: Pittsburgh is 25-0 when leading after two periods, while Carolina is 4-16 when trailing after 40 minutes.
Malkin added an insurance goal midway through the third to make it a two-goal game, while Murray stopped all six shots he faced in the final period.
The Penguins went up 1-0 just 2:15 in when Wilson, parked in front of Ward, deflected Patric Hornqvist’s shot past the goalie. The Hurricanes tied it with 12 minutes left on a power play after Lee Stempniak snagged Matt Cullen’s turnover in front of Murray to set up Skinner’s goal – just his third since Jan. 13.
Penguins: Return home to face cross-state rival Philadelphia on Saturday in an outdoor game at the Steelers’ Heinz Field.
Hurricanes: Continue a five-game homestand by playing host to Ottawa on Friday night.