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Penguins 5, Hurricanes 3

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RALEIGH, N.C. - The Pittsburgh Penguins scored twice in a 13-second span midway through the third period to turn away the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 and clinch the Atlantic Division title Tuesday night at PNC Arena.

Beau Bennett and Evgeni Malkin had the quick strikes against Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters, the latter tally coming with 9:58 remaining.

Pascal Dupuis picked up an empty-net goal with 1.9 seconds to play.

Riley Nash scored his first goal in nearly a month to give Hurricanes 3-2 lead two minutes into the third period. Defensemen Joe Corvo and Bobby Sanguinetti scored earlier for Carolina, which has lost 13 of its last 14 games.

Robert Bortuzzo and Brenden Morrow also scored for Pittsburgh, which was playing its first game since securing a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Penguins (30-10-0) lead the conference with 60 points, and they appeared in danger of losing for the second time this season to the Hurricanes.

Carolina, which had been outscored by a combined 15-3 count in its previous three outings, also had its home losing streak grow to eight games as its playoff hopes flicker. The Hurricanes lost 6-2 a night earlier at Boston.

Corvo opened the scoring on a 4-on-3 power play. Pittsburgh responded less than two minutes later when Bortuzzo, a defenseman, charged the net for his second goal of the season.

Morrow's goal came when he outmaneuvered Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk to put the Penguins ahead. That didn't last long because Sanguinetti's shot from inside the blue line made it to the net for the game's fourth goal in less than 16 minutes.

It marked the first game this season that the Hurricanes had more than one goal from their defensemen.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves for the Penguins.

Dan Ellis was Carolina's scheduled starting goalie, but after pregame warm-ups, Peters emerged as the man in the net.

Pittsburgh is 2-2-0 since the end of its 15-game winning streak, with the previous victory coming in a shootout.

NOTES: Pittsburgh played for the first time this season without left wing James Neal, who suffered a concussion Friday against the New York Rangers. He's the team's third-leading scorer with 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists). ... This was the second game with Pittsburgh for left wing Jussi Jokinen, who less than a week earlier was traded to the Penguins from the Hurricanes. Jokinen assisted on Pittsburgh's second goal. ... The Hurricanes activated defenseman Justin Faulk, who missed the previous nine games with a knee sprain, off injured reserve. ... Carolina sent defenseman Brett Bellemore back to Charlotte of the American Hockey League. ... Right wing Patrick Dwyer of the Hurricanes missed a game for the first time this season as he sat out with a foot injury sustained a night earlier at Boston. ... The Hurricanes welcomed back right wing Alexander Semin, who missed the two previous games with an upper-body injury. ... The Penguins hadn't played since Friday, while since then the Hurricanes had lost to the New York Rangers and to the Boston Bruins. While they were idle, the Penguins became the first team to clinch a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. ... This was the opener of a three-game road trip for the Penguins, with their next stop Thursday night at Tampa Bay. ... Carolina also hits the road Thursday, taking on Washington in its last game of the season against the Southeast Division leader.
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