Sutter's goal lifts Penguins over Hurricanes 2-1

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2014 9:48 PM
Sutter's goal lifts Penguins over Hurricanes 2-1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Brandon Sutter scored the game-winning goal in the final two minutes, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Wednesday.

Sutter, acquired from the Hurricanes in a 2012 trade, scored his eighth of the year, while Beau Bennett, playing for the first time in 16 games, set up both Penguins' goals. Chris Kunitz also scored his 11th for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game losing streak and avoided dropping back-to-back home games for the first time this season.

Eric Staal scored his ninth of the year and his second goal in as many games. The Hurricanes, who lost for the 11th time in their last 13 games, managed just 16 goals during that span. Carolina, which suffered its 12th one-goal loss of the season, nearly won in Pittsburgh for the second time in a little more than a month despite having one of the worst road records in the league.

Pittsburgh, which avenged last month's home loss against the Hurricanes, won seven of the last nine against Carolina at home and 10 of 13 overall.

Marc-Andre Fleury, making a season-high eighth straight start, stopped 24 shots. Cam Ward made 37 saves for Carolina.

The Hurricanes pushed hard early in the third, trying to break a 1-1 tie.

Defenseman Justin Faulk hit the post during a power-play in the first two minutes of the period, and, moments later, Fleury denied Jay McClement with a sliding save during a two-on-one. He later stopped Elias Lindholm with a glove save on a partial breakaway during another Hurricanes' power play.

That allowed Sutter to score the game-winner with 1:42 remaining.

Bennett set up Sutter in the slot, who sent a wrist shot over Ward's shoulder on the blocker side.

The Penguins have experienced a depleted lineup the last several weeks while battling injury and a league-wide mumps outbreak, leading to their worst losing streak in three years. They had help on Wednesday after the return of Bennett and Craig Adams along with defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. Bennett, who has missed 90 of the Penguins' last 118 games, was out the past 16 with mumps and a lower body injury.

Jordan Staal returned to the Hurricanes during Monday's home loss against Montreal, but he was out Wednesday against Pittsburgh.

Staal, who missed the Hurricanes' first 35 games of the season with a broken fibula, missed shifts in the closing minutes against Montreal with what coach Bill Peters called a minor injury, but he practiced Tuesday and took part in Wednesday's morning skate. Staal played six seasons in Pittsburgh and won a Stanley Cup in 2009.

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Older brother Eric Staal opened the scoring at 9:12 of the first period.

Fleury was caught out of position, sliding on a centering pass from Lindholm. Staal took advantage with a wrist shot past Fleury to make it 1-0.

Pittsburgh tied it with 21.9 seconds left in the period when Bennett sent a pass from the corner to Kunitz, who one-timed a short-side wrist shot over Ward's glove from the faceoff dot.

Pittsburgh outshot Carolina, 17-7 in the second period, but couldn't get the go-ahead goal, missing out on a pair of power-play opportunities. Carolina's best chance to break the deadlock came in the final minute when Fleury denied Jiri Tlusty with a glove save from in front.

NOTES: Hurricanes' D Michal Jordan left midway through the second period after dislocating his finger, but later returned. . Tlusty played in his 300th game with the Hurricanes. . Both teams play at home on Friday, Pittsburgh hosting Tampa Bay, while Carolina welcomes Philadelphia. . Carolina scratched Alexander Semin (upper body) and Tim Gleason, while Pittsburgh sat forwards Rob Klinkhammer and Steve Downie and D Scott Harrington.