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James Neal extended Pittsburgh’s Christmas a couple of days with a two point present in a game they should not have earned a point. Neal scored just a minute into the overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Carolina jumped out to the early lead in the game when Andrej Sekera slipped a puck past Marc-Andre Fleury with barely a second left in the opening period. Sidney Crosby netted his 21st of the season just 16 seconds into the second period but the resilient Hurricanes answered back a mere 14 seconds later with a rebound goal by Nathan Gerbe.
For the second time in the last two games Carolina took a lead into the final 20 minutes only to see it disappear. Chris Conner made a move on Carolina rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy and goalie Justin Peters wasn’t ready to defend. Conner’s 4th of the season tied the game at 2. Later in the period Ryan Murphy was again the victim. This time a point shot by Deryk Engelland found his rear end, with Peters screened by Joe Vitale, the puck fell into the net. Unlike their loss to Columbus before Christmas, this time Carolina found a way to answer. On a great shift from the fourth line, Drayson Bowman was able to get a wrap-around goal and send the game into overtime.
The Hurricanes managed two shots on Fleury before Neal and Jussi Jokinen played give and go allowing Neal to slip in past the Carolina defense. Neal’s goal was his 11th of the season.
Carolina will board a plane to Toronto on Saturday for their game against the Leafs on Sunday and will be back in Raleigh for a New Years Eve matchup with Montreal.