Pittsburgh’s fourth line combined for five points Sunday as the Penguins topped the visiting Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 in an important Metropolitan Division matchup.
Matt Cullen had a goal and an assist, Adam Johnson had two assists for his first two NHL points, and Garrett Wilson and Patric Hornqvist also scored for Pittsburgh, which has won four of its past five games.
Goaltender Matt Murray stopped 37 of 38 Hurricanes shots.
The Penguins (43-25-11, 97 points) moved to within two points of the idle second-place New York Islanders in the division.
If Carolina (43-29-7, 93 points) had been able to muster a regulation win, it would have caught the Penguins in points with 95 and leapfrogged them into third place in the division based on tiebreakers.
Instead, the Hurricanes remain in a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Jaccob Slavin scored and Curtis McElhinney made 25 saves for Carolina, which has lost three of four.
Carolina’s Calvin de Haan left early in the second period after taking a spill, leaving the team with five defensemen. The Hurricanes reported he has an upper-body injury.
The fourth line of Johnson, Cullen and Wilson carried the Penguins in the first period and produced two goals.
Wilson’s second NHL goal gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 10:45. He swatted the puck in off McElhinney’s glove during a scramble around the crease. A Carolina challenge for goalie interference was denied.
Brian Dumoulin forced a Hurricanes turnover to set up the Penguins’ second goal. Johnson collected the puck and fed it to Cullen for a two-on-one with Olli Maatta. Cullen wristed the puck past McElhinney’s blocker at 18:45.
After a scoreless second, Hornqvist made it 3-0 just 46 seconds into the third. Dominik Simon, from deep, dropped a backhanded pass to Hornqvist, who one-timed the puck from the right circle for his first even-strength goal in 33 games.
Slavin spoiled Murray’s shutout bid during a power play at 12:12 of the third on a shot from the top of the slot through heavy traffic.
—Field Level Media