Mark Recchi recorded a hat-trick, but the Pittsburgh Penguins could not rally past the Carolina Hurricanes, 7-5, Saturday night at Mellon Arena.
Recchi scored once in the second period and two more times in the third as the Penguins outscored the Hurricanes 5-2 in the final two frames.
It was Recchi’s sixth-career hat-trick and first with the Penguins.
“We showed a lot of character. We just have to find ways to have better starts and don’t get ourselves let down like this. It’s just too tough [to come back] against teams like this,” Recchi said. “We kept battling and that’s one great sign about our team right now – we definitely don’t quit. We have to find ways to be better and find ways to get off to better starts.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing because we really want to win.”
The Hurricanes scored five goals on their first nine shots of the game.
Eric Staal deflected a shot past Sebastien Caron with 10:09 left in the first period for a power-play goal.
Ray Whitney added another power-play goal 1:41 later. The goal chased Caron, who gave up two goals on five shots. He was replaced in net with Marc-Andre Fleury.
Erik Cole ripped a shot past Fleury with 6:38 on the clock for a short-handed goal.
The Hurricanes scored again less than a minute later when Kevyn Adams broke in alone on Fleury and roofed the puck into the net.
Rod Brind’Amour made it 5-0 with 1:40 to play.
Recchi scored a power-play goal 57 seconds into the second period to cut the deficit to 5-1. Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney earned the assists.
Konstantin Koltsov scored his first goal of the year with 9:52 left in the period. He ripped a shot past Cam Ward. Michel Ouellet and Jani Rita had assists.
The Hurricanes answered nearly two minutes later as Cole blasted a shot past Caron, who replaced Fleury to start the second period.
John LeClair rifled a shot into the net with 5:59 left on the clock to trim the Penguins’ deficit to 6-3. Eric Boguniecki and Ryan Malone had the assists.
Recchi redirected a shot past Ward with 17:07 to go to make it a 6-4 game. Colby Armstrong and Whitney earned assists on the play.
Cory Stillman scored a power-play goal with 14:07 left to boost Carolina’s lead to 7-4.
Recchi completed the HT with 5:02 to play with a goal. Sidney Crosby and Gonchar assisted on the play.
The Penguins return to action Tuesday against Tampa Bay at Mellon Arena.
ICE CHIPS: Cory Cross, Shane Endicott and Eric Cairns were the Penguins’ scratches…The announced attendance was 16,293…Pittsburgh’s Andre Roy and Carolina’s Mike Commodore fought late in the second period with Roy taking the victory.