RALEIGH, N.C. (KDKA/AP) — The Penguins managed to skate out of Raleigh with a win Saturday night despite some tense moments near the end of the game when they faced what essentially became a 6-on-3 without some of their best penalty killers.
Brent Johnson came up big during the last-minute defensive stand that thwarted the Carolina Hurricanes three-man advantage. The Penguins backup goalie finished the game with 30 saves in the 3-2 victory at the RBC Center. It was his 300th career game.
Hurricanes backup goalie Brian Boucher made 37 saves in the loss.
Arron Asham and Pascal Dupuis scored 1:27 apart in the third period, Craig Adams had a goal and an assist and Sidney Crosby added an assist for the Penguins.
Jamie McBain scored both goals for Carolina, one in the second period to tie the game at 1-1 and the other on a power play with time winding down in the third to bring the ‘Canes within one goal.
Johnson stopped five shots during the final 2:04, when a series of penalties by the Penguins gave Carolina a 5-on-3 advantage. The Hurricanes pulled Boucher and peppered him relentlessly in what Adams called “a shooting gallery.”
Johnson’s most impressive save came when Jussi Jokinen’s shot off the post trickled past him before he covered it with his right shoulder with 17.2 seconds left.
Playing for the first time since Nov. 19, Johnson was impenetrable early on, breaking up a pretty backdoor pass from Bryan Allen to Jokinen and then stuffing Chad LaRose after a perfect cross-ice pass midway through the first.
He also caught a break late in the second when Skinner had a wide-open net but couldn’t get control of a bouncing puck before Brooks Orpik and Johnson shut the door on him.
The Penguins survived the final minutes of the game without Jordan Staal as well. The Pens forward, known as one of the team’s better penalty killers, had his face bloodied by a pass by Hurricanes defenseman Tomas Kaberle with about three minutes left to play.
After the game, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said Staal had a cut under his eye.
Adams put the Pens up 1-0 midway through the second when he took a pretty backhand pass from Crosby at the end line and beat Boucher for his third goal. McBain tied it with 1:19 before the break on a delayed penalty, taking a cross-ice pass from Joni Pitkanen and blasting the puck past Johnson.
Asham broke a 1-all tie when his hard shot from between the circles beat Boucher with 11:27 left. Dupuis followed by hammering in a rebound to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes left.
But McBain pulled the ‘Canes within a goal with 7:31 left when he scored a rare power-play goal — just the second for Carolina in six games.
But when the Hurricanes couldn’t score with what amounted to a 6-on-3 advantage after Boucher was pulled, Pittsburgh claimed a matchup of teams at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings. The Penguins top the NHL with 36 points, while the Hurricanes entered one point out of last place and have lost six straight and 13 of 16.
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