RALEIGH, N.C. – For the second straight night, the Carolina Hurricanes pushed one of the NHL’s best teams to overtime.
This time they got the win. Brian Pothier scored 23 seconds into overtime to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Carolina lost by the same count the night before in Washington.
“Two of the best teams in the league – the defending Stanley Cup champion and the potential Presidents’ Trophy winner,” Pothier said. “So great test for us. I think we responded pretty well. At times, we looked tired tonight, but we battled through it.”
Pothier took a pass from Ray Whitney from behind the net and snapped it past Brent Johnson to help the Hurricanes complete a rally from an early two-goal deficit.
It was Pothier’s goal first goal since he joined the Hurricanes this month in a trade with Washington.
“(Whitney) is a special player,” Pothier said. “He sees the ice better than most guys do. He wasn’t looking at me, but I had a feeling he saw me. He put it right under somebody’s stick and through a set of legs. It was a beautiful pass.”
Eric Staal and Whitney had a goal and an assist each, and Zach Boychuk also scored for the Hurricanes, 13-3-1 in their last 17 games.
Justin Peters made 37 saves – including a late gem on Pascal Dupuis – to help Carolina survive a 40-21 shot disadvantage.
“I don’t think tonight was easy for him,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said about Peters. “I thought in his other games he was sharp and on. I thought he had to fight through it a little bit because some of the rebounds got away from him. But he still managed.”
Matt Cooke, Jordan Staal and Bill Guerin scored for the Penguins, who had their post-Olympic winning streak snapped at four. Johnson made 17 saves.
“Honestly, it was just one of those nights,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to put it behind me. We’re not happy with just the one point, obviously – we want to get two.”
Pittsburgh had been 10-1-1 this season in games when it was tied after two periods before it stumbled against the team it swept in last season’s Eastern Conference final.
“I think that the team we played tonight has proven all year long that they are not going to stop playing,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “They are going to work regardless of the standings or what the score is.”
The teams combined for four goals in the first 9:11.
Pittsburgh got the first two, with Staal and Guerin sneaking pucks past Peters in quick succession. It was Guerin’s first game back after missing three with back spasms.
The Hurricanes, who also rallied from a 2-0 deficit against the Capitals, scored the next three. Whitney scored the first with a one-timer on the power play; Boychuk added the second when he grabbed the puck off a faceoff, accelerated into the Penguins’ zone and backhanded the puck past Johnson’s blocker.
Staal then gave Carolina a 3-2 lead early in the second period when he banked the puck in off Johnson’s legs from a sharp angle.
Pittsburgh tied it shortly thereafter when Cooke backhanded a rebounded through Peters’ legs. Cooke, who escaped suspension earlier in the week for his hit to the head of Boston’s Marc Savard, was booed loudly after the goal.
Carolina lost Brandon Sutter to a lower-body injury in the first period. Maurice said after the game the injury wasn’t serious.
NOTES: Pittsburgh will play its next four games on the road. … The Penguins killed off 1:39 of a two-man advantage late in the second period.