Asham, Dupuis lead Penguins past 'Canes, 3-2
RALEIGH, N.C.—Arron Asham and Pascal Dupuis scored 1:27 apart in the third period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins made a late defensive stand to beat the slumping Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night.
Craig Adams had a goal and an assist, and Sidney Crosby added an assist for the Penguins. They've won five of seven games since Crosby's return, and he has two goals and 10 assists in that span.
Brent Johnson stopped 30 shots to win a battle of the backups against Brian Boucher, who made 37 saves.
Jamie McBain scored two goals for the Hurricanes, who have lost six straight and 13 of 16.
Carolina had a 5-on-3 advantage for the final 2:04, but Johnson made five saves during that span --including one on Jussi Jokinen's shot off the post that trickled past him before covering it with his shoulder with 17.2 seconds left.
Asham broke a 1-all tie when his hard shot from between the circles beat Boucher with 11:27 left. Dupuis followed by hammering in a rebound to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes left.
McBain pulled the Hurricanes within a goal with 7:31 left when he scored a rare power-play goal -- just the second for Carolina in six games.
But when the Hurricanes couldn't score with what amounted to a three-man advantage after Boucher was pulled, Pittsburgh claimed a matchup of teams at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings. The Penguins top the conference, while the Hurricanes came in one point out of last place.
It wrapped up a rough first week on the job for Kirk Muller, who was hired Monday to replace the fired Paul Maurice. The 19-year NHL veteran as a player wound up taking on two first-place teams in his first five days as Carolina's coach, losing to Southeast leader Florida and now the Penguins.
Playing for the first time since Nov. 19, Johnson was impenetrable early on, breaking up a pretty backdoor pass from Bryan Allen to Jussi Jokinen and then stuffing Chad LaRose after a perfect cross-ice pass midway through the first.
He also caught a break late in the second when Jeff Skinner had a wide-open net but couldn't get control of a bouncing puck before Brooks Orpik and Johnson shut the door on him.
Adams put Pittsburgh up 1-0 midway through the second when he took a pretty backhand pass from Crosby at the end line and beat Boucher for his third goal. McBain tied it with 1:19 before the break on a delayed penalty, taking a cross-ice pass from Joni Pitkanen and blasting the puck past Johnson.
NOTES: Pittsburgh C Jordan Staal had his face bloodied by Tomas Kaberle's pass with about 3 minutes left. ... Johnson played in his 300th career game. ... McBain sat out the last two games as a healthy scratch. ... Since the Hurricanes beat Pittsburgh 5-3 on Nov. 12, they've only won twice since.