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Pens Beat Hurricanes 4-2

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t lack finesse. Or skill. Or speed.

Yet it takes more than that to survive in the playoffs. There’s a fair amount of grit involved. A willingness to get to spots on the ice that come at a physical price, too. Having a goaltender brimming with confidence helps.

The Penguins showcased all of those attributes in a 4-2 win over Carolina on Sunday that could serve as a preview of what awaits when the postseason begins in May.

Brian Boyle and Danton Heinen scored from in close, Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese provided some late cushion with empty-net scores and Tristan Jarry made 41 saves as Pittsburgh beat the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes for the first time in three tries this season.

“We did a lot of little things well,” Heinen said. “We’re all competing and battling out there. They’re a good team. They’re going to make plays too. It’s a matter of bailing each other out every once in a while and (Jarry) was great back there.”

Crosby’s goal was his 20th of the season, the 14th time in his career he’s reached that plateau, second-most among active players behind Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.

Yet it was the production from other parts of the lineup that should give the Penguins cause for optimism with the trade deadline looming in a week. Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall is weighing whether to add a winger with a scoring touch after watching the club’s bottom six struggle in recent weeks. The former goaltender urged his role players to get to the front of the net in an effort to make something happen.

Boyle and Heinen responded by scoring from a combined 6 feet from the net while Aston-Reese’s tap-in empty-netter with 12 seconds left sealed it.

“You want to have some traffic there (in front of the net),” Boyle said, later adding, “You can get rewarded there. Shots are coming. Sometimes it doesn’t feel the best, but that’s where goals can happen.”

Brett Pesce scored his fifth goal of the season and Sebastian Aho added his 27th, but Carolina lost in regulation for just the second time in its last 12 games (9-2-1). Antti Raanta finished with 19 saves but had no real chance at stopping either of the two he let in.


HAMILTON, Ontario (AP) — Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals and an assist, Peyton Krebs also scored twice and Buffalo defeated Toronto in the Heritage Classic outdoor game.


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Roman Josi scored twice to establish a career high with 17 goals this season, leading Nashville past Minnesota to spoil the start of a franchise-record nine-game homestand for the Wild.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cole Caufield scored 2:10 into overtime to give Montreal a comeback victory over Philadelphia in a matchup of last-place clubs.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Pierre Luc-Dubois scored in overtime and Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves for Winnipeg.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Eighteen-year-old rookie Cole Sillinger recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career, Elvis Merzlikins made 23 saves and Columbus beat Vegas.


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