RALEIGH After three days off, neither the Carolina Hurricanes nor the Pittsburgh Penguins were lacking energy Friday.
That the two teams both lost games before the Christmas break only added to the urgency and intensity at PNC Arena.
The game went to overtime before the Penguins won it 4-3 on James Neal’s goal at 1:03 of the extra period.
Deryk Engelland’s goal with 6:45 left in the third period pushed the Penguins ahead 3-2. But Drayson Bowman’s wraparound goal with 2:29 remaining in regulation tied it at 3 for the Canes.
The Canes (14-15-9) controlled much of the first two periods, passing the puck well and outshooting the Pens 26-16. Andrej Sekera’s goal in the final seconds of the first period gave Carolina a 1-0 lead, and Nathan Gerbe followed up a goal by the Pens’ Sidney Crosby early in the second for a 2-1 lead.
The Pens (28-11-1) picked up the pace in the third and Chris Conner’s goal early in the period tied the score at 2. Conner made a nice move to get past defenseman Ryan Murphy and scored on a well-placed backhander that beat Canes goalie Justin Peters.
Engelland scored on a shot from the point as the Pens’ Joe Vitale screened Peters.
In their final game before the Christmas break, the Canes saw a one-goal lead vanish in the final five minutes as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied for a 4-3 win. The Pens, meanwhile, had a seven-game winning streak end in a 5-0 loss at Ottawa.
The Penguins, who lead the Eastern Conference, confirmed Friday that forward Pascal Dupuis would undergo knee surgery and likely would be lost for the remainder of the season.
Crosby scored 16 seconds into the second period with a sharp backhander past Peters for a 1-1 tie. It was Crosby’s 21st of the season.
But Gerbe scored 14 seconds after Crosby, fighting past Pens defenseman Matt Nsikanen in front and whacking the puck past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Gerbe’s eighth of the season gave the Canes the 2-1 lead they maintained throughout the second.
Sekera’s goal with less than two seconds left in the first period gave the Canes a 1-0 lead.
Sekera lifted a backhander for his seventh goal of the season, a new season high for the defenseman. Replays showed the puck crossed the goal line with 1.8 seconds left.
The Canes nearly scored a few seconds earlier as Alexander Semin made a centering pass to Gerbe, whose tip was stopped by Fleury. The play continued and Sekera scored.
The Canes outshot the Pens 16-7 in the opening period but had few quality scoring chances until the end. In one sequence, Semin picked off a Pens pass in the slot and rifled a shot that went over the net, the puck banging hard off the glass, then off the top of the net before Fleury snagged it.
The Pens got the puck over the goal line with 1:01 left in the first but didn’t score. During a scrum in front of the Canes net, Peters and defenseman Ron Hainsey smothered a shot. The Pens’ Brandon Sutter and Chuck Kobasew kept poking at the puck and the whistle sounded.
After a review, referee Francois St. Laurent said the puck did cross the goal line but that the whistle already had sounded to stop play.
Peters made a stop on a point-blank shot by the Pens’ James Neal with 5:25 left in the second period, with Neal flashing in front and taking a pass from Crosby. Moments later, Fleury twice stopped the Canes’ Zach Boychuk.
The Canes play three of their next four on the road.
Alexander: 919-829-8945 Twitter: @ice_chip
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