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game recap

Crosby scores twice, Penguins defeat Hurricanes

Pittsburgh overcomes slow start, 2-0 deficit, pads wild-card lead

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

Crosby's second goal of the game

CAR@PIT: Crosby gets on one knee to bury second goal

3/17/16: Sidney Crosby drops to a knee and deflects Ian Cole's feed into the twine for his second goal of the game, putting the Penguins on top

  • 00:46 •

PITTSBURGH -- With the Pittsburgh Penguins in a hole, Sidney Crosby dug them out against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Crosby scored twice to help the Penguins recover from a two-goal deficit and defeat the Hurricanes 4-2 at Consol Energy Center on Thursday.

With the Penguins trailing 2-0, Crosby cut Pittsburgh's deficit in half using an impressive individual effort with 6:07 remaining in the first period. Crosby muscled his way past Jaccob Slavin on the far wall before driving toward the crease, shouldering Ron Hainsey out of the way and going forehand to backhand to extend his scoring streak to 10 games (six goals, 10 assists).

Crosby is the only NHL player with multiple point streaks of at least 10 games this season. He had a point in 11 straight games from Jan. 12-Feb. 8 (12 goals, 10 assists).

Video: CAR@PIT: Crosby beats Lack with his backhand

"Luckily, we had a lot of time [to come back]," Crosby said. "We had some mistakes there early. Even with those, I thought, we still had 20-plus shots, we still had a number of chances, so it could've been a different game, but I still think we made mistakes and had time to climb our way back and found that level of desperation that we needed."

Penguins forward Phil Kessel tied the game 2-2 after defenseman Ian Cole whiffed on a shot that ricocheted off of Carl Hagelin's skate and to Kessel, who shot into an open net with 7:44 remaining in the second period. The goal was Kessel's 21st of the season and second in his past 12 games.

Crosby scored Pittsburgh's third unanswered goal when he dropped to a knee and deflected a slap pass from Cole over goalie Eddie Lack's right pad with 2:01 remaining in the second. Crosby leads the Penguins with 31 goals and has scored 29 goals in his past 52 games after scoring two goals in his first 18 games.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan complimented Crosby's all-around game, which included breaking up a 2-on-1 during the second period.

Video: CAR@PIT: Kessel taps home redirection off skate

"I think Sid's playing at both ends of the rink right now for us," Sullivan said. "He has for a long time. Sometimes he plays against the top line and we go power against power, and he's every bit as good in our end as he is in the offensive side of the rink. I think because he's such a dynamic player offensively, no one really talks about his play away from the puck."

Nick Bonino scored his fifth of the season to extend Pittsburgh's lead to 4-2 with 6:40 remaining in the third period.

The Penguins (38-24-8) have started a stretch of nine consecutive games against Metropolitan Division opponents 5-1-0. They will face the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday. The Penguins own the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference; they are three points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and four points in front of the Flyers.

Carolina was outshot 48-33.

Video: CAR@PIT: Murray denies Gerbe's great chance

"Obviously, you don't want to give up 50 shots," forward Phillip Di Giuseppe said. "I think they had 22 or 23 in the first even though we came out on top in the first. They were putting pressure on us all game, so we have to clean that up a little bit."

Pittsburgh held a 22-14 shot advantage after the first period, but two early lapses led to a one-goal deficit entering the intermission.

The Hurricanes (31-27-13) opened the scoring after taking advantage of a Penguins turnover. Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz attempted a pass to Kris Letang in their own end that bounced away to Di Giuseppe, who shot through goalie Matthew Murray's five-hole 42 seconds into the first.

Giuseppe has at least one point in five of his past six games and a goal in three of his past four.

Video: CAR@PIT: Nash buries Skinner's feed for 2-0 lead

Murray (31 saves) denied the Hurricanes on a 3-on-1 a few minutes later, but the Penguins failed to clear the puck, which led to traffic around the Pittsburgh crease. Forward Jeff Skinner sent a pass through Hagelin from behind the net to Riley Nash, which set Nash up for his eighth goal of the season to give Carolina a 2-0 lead 5:10 into the first before Crosby scored his first goal later in the period.

The Hurricanes chose not to pull Lack (44 saves) when they were trailing by two goals late in the third period.

The regulation loss was Carolina's first since Feb. 28.

"I don't know what we did really, to establish a 2-0 lead," Peters said. "I don't know if we were full marks for that. I didn't think we did a lot up to that point, so they were probably the quicker team throughout the night. … We weren't as competitive with the pace of the game. It seemed like we struggled with the pace of the game at times."

Video: Crosby, Penguins double up Hurricanes, 4-2

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