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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Dougie Hamilton scored in the shootout, Petr Mrazek stopped Pittsburgh cold and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Penguins 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Justin Williams scored the tying goal with 1:56 left in regulation, and Brock McGinn also scored for the Hurricanes.
They won their fourth in five games and earned an important two points in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race – and perhaps just as important, prevented the Penguins from picking up a second point.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist, Kris Letang scored a late goal, Brian Rust had two assists and Matt Murray made 37 saves for the Penguins, who have lost three straight – the last two in either overtime or the shootout – but have earned points in nine of their last 10 games against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Letang, in his first game back from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for 11 games, seemingly put the game on ice for the Penguins with his 3-on-1 goal with 4:37 left in regulation. But – with Mrazek pulled – Williams put in the rebound of Hamilton’s late shot to tie it at 2.
Letang took a 2-minute minor for slashing Sebastian Aho with 2:04 left in overtime, then also received a 10-minute misconduct for voicing his objection to that call. But the Hurricanes couldn’t make them pay, with Jack Johnson blocking Aho’s late shot into an open net.
Hamilton scored in the first round of the shootout, and Mrazek took over after that, stopping Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby and finally Guentzel to end it. He finished with 36 saves and has won seven of his last eight starts.
In a tight, tense game with a tangible playoff feel, McGinn broke a scoreless tie – and scored Carolina’s first home goal against the Penguins this season – with 10:22 left in the second, snapping the puck past Murray after taking a slick pass from Justin Faulk.
That lead lasted only 38 seconds: Guentzel took a feed from Crosby in the slot and blasted the puck past Mrazek for his fourth goal in six games.
NOTES: Carolina D Lucas Wallmark rang the crossbar late in the first. … Penguins RW Phil Kessel skated in his 320th consecutive game to break the club record set by Craig Adams from 2009-14.
Penguins: Play at Nashville on Thursday night.
Hurricanes: Continue their five-game homestand Thursday night against Tampa Bay.
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