NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Carolina
(Wednesday, October 14th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 3, Carolina 2 (SO)
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Chris Kunitz scored in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins over the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals at RBC Center.
With the shootout still undecided after five rounds, Ray Whitney had his backhander batted away by Marc-Andre Fleury to begin the sixth. Then with the game on the line, Kunitz skated in and beat Cam Ward with a wrister between the pads, giving the Pens the win and two points.
Evgeni Malkin registered a goal and an assist, while Mike Rupp also tallied for Pittsburgh, which has won five straight on the road to start a season for the first time in club history.
The Pens, who swept the best-of-seven playoff series with Carolina a year ago, have won six of seven to start the campaign. Fleury turned in a solid effort in goal, stopping 27-of-29 shots.
"We were playing well. It was a mistake and a little bit of puck management that allowed them to get back in the game but I think the general feeling is that we are playing well, we are doing good things, we are playing the right way," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said about the win.
Whitney scored twice and Tuomo Ruutu picked up a pair of assists for the Hurricanes, who have lost four of six to begin the season. Ward was stellar between the pipes making 36 saves.
"We haven't generated much offense on the puck, our cycle game is off and our forecheck game is off as well, and that is our entity of the game that we need to get to," Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice said.
Trailing 2-0 after two, Whitney cut the Hurricanes deficit in half nearly 4 1/2 minutes into the third when he redirected a pass from Ruutu in the low middle slot that squeezed past Fleury.
Whitney then tipped home a shot from Tim Gleason in front at the midway point of the frame to even things at 2-2.
Each team had a power-play chance in the last seven minutes of regulation, but neither was able to light the lamp and the game went into overtime. Then after a spirited and scoreless 5:00 of OT it went to the shootout.
Rupp opened the scoring with 5:36 left in the opening period. After taking a chip pass off the boards from Malkin, the big center led a two-on-one down the right side and finished it off when he flipped a backhander past Ward on the glove side.
Malkin's tally on a quick snap shot from a bad angle in the lower right circle put the Penguins up by a 2-0 margin 4:27 into the second stanza.
Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen missed the contest as he continues to recover from a surgically repaired knee...Pittsburgh has won six of the last 11 regular-season matchups between the teams...Whitney's first goal of the game was his 100th as a Hurricane.
10/14 22:38:05 ET