Despite scoring first and holding the lead twice in the game the Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-3 on Tuesday night.
The game looked like it would be a favorable one for the Hurricanes, who had Alex Semin and Justin Faulk return for the game. However, before the puck dropped coach Kirk Muller announced that Dan Ellis was injured and Justin Peters would be in net for the Canes.
The defense did not give Peters a great chance at a win allowing several odd-man rushes that resulted in three of the five goals. Brenden Morrow also scored a nearly unstoppable shot when he sniped the puck over Peters’ right shoulder in the first period.
The Hurricanes got on the board first when Joe Corvo scored before the five-minute mark in the first period with a shot from the point on the power-play. It was the first goal from a Hurricanes defenseman since March 12. Bobby Sanguinetti also added a goal in the first period again coming from a point shot.
The second period saw strong defense from both sides that did not open any scoring for either teams.
In the third period, the Hurricanes got on the board early when Riley Nash scored his fourth goal of the season. Nash put a rebound shot past Marc-Andre Fleury after Tuumo Ruutu and Chad LaRose worked a tough cycle behind the Penguins’ net.
Beau Bennett tied the game up after his shot was saved by Peters, but went off of a Hurricanes defenseman and into the back of the net. Evgeni Malkin stuffed a rebound into the net for the game-winning goal just 13 seconds later after Jarome Iginla fired a shot on net that Peters could not cover up. Pascal Dupuis scored a empty-net goal to seal the win for the Eastern Conference leading Pens.
In his return to Carolina, Jussi Jokinen had a strong game in the faceoff dot winning 50 percent of his draws and recorded an assist.
The loss will make it difficult for the Hurricanes to gain any traction in the playoff hunt after the team played strong for 60 minutes, but could not earn the win.