Penguins clinch Atlantic Division championship with 5-3 victory over Hurricanes

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division championship with a 5-3 victory over Carolina at PNC Arena tonight.

In the process, they locked up no worse than the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The victory was their second in a row, while the Hurricanes' losing streak swelled to six.

The Hurricanes also have lost eight consecutive games on home ice, a franchise record.

Defenseman Joe Corvo staked Carolina to a 1-0 lead during a four-on-three power play at 4:06 of the opening period, when he threw a wrist shot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the slot.

The Penguins countered quickly, however, as defenseman Robert Bortuzzo drove to the net and steered a Pascal Dupuis feed by Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters at 5:38.

Craig Adams also received an assist on the goal, Bortuzzo's second of the season.

Brenden Morrow put the Penguins in front, 2-1, at 13:49, off a set-up by former Hurricane Jussi Jokinen.

Jokinen pounced on a loose puck just inside the Carolina blue line and threw a backhand pass to Morrow, who put a shot under the crossbar while falling to the ice near the left hash. The second assist went to Dupuis.

Carolina pulled even at 15:34, as defensemen Bobby Sanguinetti beat Fleury with a wrist shot through traffic from the left point. The puck appeared to hit something and change directions on the way to the net.

Riley Nash put the Hurricanes back on top, 3-2, two minutes into the third period, as he backhanded a rebound past Fleury from in front of the net.

The Penguins, however, struck for two goals in 13 seconds in the middle of the period to reclaim the lead.

Beau Bennett tied the game, 3-3, at 9:49, when Peters stopped his backhander from close range, only to have the puck bounce off Carolina defenseman Jamie McBain and tumble into the net.

The goal was Bennett's third of the season.

Evgeni Malkin, who began the evening with just six goals in 26 games, made it 4-3 at 10:02, as he one-handed a Jarome Iginla rebound past Peters.

Dupuis sealed the victory by scoring into an empty net with 1.9 seconds left in regulation.

The Penguins' three-game road trip continues Thursday, when they will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:38 p.m.

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First Published April 10, 2013 1:45 AM


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