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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin each had two goals and an assist and the Pittsburgh Penguins routed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 on Friday night for their season-best sixth straight victory.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists, Sidney Crosby scored a late goal and Olli Maatta also scored. The Penguins took control with three goals – two by Kessel – in a 7:39 span in the second period.
Matt Murray made 27 saves for Pittsburgh, which has won 11 of 13 to overtake idle Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Since the Penguins were shut out by Carolina on Jan. 4, they are 16-3-1.
They were just as busy off the ice, completing a mid-game trade in which they picked up center Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators. As part of the complicated three-team deal, they sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Teuvo Teravainen scored and Cam Ward stopped 33 shots for the short-handed Hurricanes, who have gone 0-3-1 during a four-game slide that’s keeping them outside the Eastern Conference playoff race.
They played without physical center Jordan Staal, who missed the game because of a family concern – and his absence certainly was felt against Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and the rest of the two-time Stanley Cup champions’ lineup.
Kessel capped a fast-paced flurry of scoring early in the second period, scoring two goals in 2 minutes, 14 seconds for his third two-goal game of the season.
After Teravainen pulled the Hurricanes to 2-1, Kessel blasted a feed from Guentzel past Ward at 6:11. Kessel then effectively put the game out of reach by stuffing the puck past Ward for his 26th goal of the season, with a brief official review confirming that the puck completely crossed the red line.
NOTES: LW Carl Hagelin thought he had a goal for Pittsburgh early in the third, but it was erased when an official review determined the puck was kicked into the net. … Pittsburgh RW Patric Hornqvist returned after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. … Carolina D Jaccob Slavin became the fifth player in franchise history to play in 200 consecutive games.
Penguins: Wrap up their three-game trip Saturday night at Florida.
Hurricanes: Begin a three-game trip Saturday night at Detroit.
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