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Hurricanes 4, Penguins 1

The SportsXchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jiri Tlusty scored twice and Jeff Skinner produced a goal in his first game back from a concussion as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 Thursday night at PNC Arena.

Eric Staal added a goal and two assists for Southeast Division-leading Carolina (10-8-1), which entered the game with only one victory in its previous five outings. Tlusty also had an assist.

Goalie Cam Ward made 26 saves for Carolina.

Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz opened the scoring, but the Penguins (13-8-0) were undone by Carolina's three-goal second period.

Tlusty poked in the go-ahead goal shortly after Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury appeared as if he might frustrate the Hurricanes for an extended stretch.

Patrick Dwyer, from behind the net, fed Skinner for his goal, giving the Hurricanes two goals in a 1:46 span after Tlusty's first goal.

Skinner's eight goals are third most on the team, one behind Tlusty and two behind Staal.

The Hurricanes kept the momentum after the quick streaks when Ward stopped Matt Cooke's shot in front of the net.

Tlusty scored his second goal with 11 seconds left in the second period, off a pass from Alexander Semin.

Earlier, Kunitz took a cross-ice pass from Sidney Crosby and one-timed the shot past Ward. Crosby's league-leading assist total grew to 22.

The Hurricanes pulled even with 25 seconds to play in the first period when Staal redirected Semin's shot past Fleury.

The game included the first outings for Carolina center Jordan Staal and Pittsburgh center Brandon Sutter against their former teams. They were the centerpieces of a June trade between the teams, though not major factors in the scoring plays Thursday night.

Fleury led the NHL in February with eight victories. He was sharp early against Carolina, stopping rapid-fire shots from Skinner and Chad LaRose during a sequence barely six minutes into the game.

Fleury finished with 25 saves.

The Penguins had a 12-game streak with at least one power-play goal snapped. They went 0-for-5 on power plays.

NOTES: The Hurricanes also welcomed back center Tim Brent and defensemen Tim Gleason and Jamie McBain to the lineup, all coming off injuries. Skinner (concussion) and Brent (lower body) missed five games, Gleason (lower body) sat six games and McBain (upper body) was out four games. ... The Penguins played their third game in a row without forward Evgeni Malkin (concussion). ... The Hurricanes sent defenseman Ryan Murphy back to his junior team, Kitchener of the OHL, after he played four games without a point on an emergency call-up. ... Pittsburgh gave up six goals in each of its last two losses during a 5-2-0 stretch. ... There will be a rematch April 9, but the teams won't meet in Pittsburgh until the regular-season finale April 27.
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