PITTSBURGH ( Associated Press) — Jesper Fast scored 9 seconds into the third period to break a tie, Sebastian Aho followed with his 22nd goal of the season and the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Sunday to move into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jordan Staal also scored for Carolina, which never trailed in the first meeting of the season between the teams that entered the day tied atop perhaps the league’s most competitive division. Antti Raanta made 31 saves to pick up his 100th career victory.
Evan Rodrigues scored his first goal since Jan. 6 to get Pittsburgh within one with 1:12 remaining, but the Hurricanes held on.
Bryan Rust scored his eighth goal in his past eight games and Sidney Crosby added the 501st goal of his career. Tristan Jarry finished with 26 stops for Pittsburgh and played well despite a series of breakdowns in front of him early on that allowed the Hurricanes to control play for significant stretches.
The Penguins and Hurricanes have spent most of the past two months shadowboxing each other. Carolina sprinted to the division lead following a scorching start in November only to be slowly reeled in by Pittsburgh.
Their first meeting in more than two years provided a litmus test of sorts for both sides. The game comes near the start of a challenging three-week stretch for the Penguins that began with a listless loss to Toronto last Thursday and includes three matchups with the Hurricanes as well as showdowns with Tampa Bay, Florida and the New York Rangers.
PANTHERS 5, BLACKHAWKS 2
CHICAGO ( Associated Press) — Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists and surging Florida beat Chicago for its third straight win.
Aaron Ekblad, Brandon Montour, MacKenzie Weegar and Anton Lundell also scored as Eastern Conference-leading Florida won for the seventh time in eight games and finished a five-game road trip at 4-1-0.
Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists to increase his league-leading assist total to 53 and extend his points streak to seven games. He has one goal and 11 assists in the span.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for Chicago, which dropped its third straight overall and seventh in a row at home (0-6-1). The Blackhawks haven’t won at the United Center since beating Anaheim on Jan. 15.
Caleb Jones added a late goal in the third just as a Chicago power play ended to make it closer.
Kane’s assist gave him 720 for his career, all with Chicago, and moved him past Hall of Famer Denis Savard for second on the team’s career list.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves for Florida. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 shots for Chicago.
CANADIENS 3, ISLANDERS 2, SO
NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Andrew Hammond made 30 saves and stopped two of three shootout attempts, leading Montreal over New York.
It was Hammond’s first regular-season start since March 28, 2018, and first NHL regular-season win since April 9, 2016, when he backstopped the Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win against the Boston Bruins.
Cole Caufield and Rem Pitlick scored in the shootout and Montreal won its second straight with St. Louis behind the bench. Jeff Petry and Josh Anderson scored in regulation for the Canadiens.
Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson scored for New York and Ilya Sorokin made 25 saves.
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