Sidney Crosby, Penguins spoil Guentzel’s return to Pittsburgh, beat Hurricanes 4-1

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PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist and the Penguins scored two goals on five shots in the second period, spoiling Jake Guentzel’s return to Pittsburgh with a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Bryan Rust scored his 23rd of the season and his seventh goal in 10 games. Jesse Puljujarvi added his third of the season — and second in as many games for the Penguins, who were outshot 31-14 in the last two periods. Drew O’Connor added an empty-net goal at 18:04 of the third.

Crosby scored his 35th goal of the season and became the first active player, and 14th in NHL history, with 15 or more 40-assist seasons. The Penguins snapped a three-game losing streak and rebounded from an overtime loss at Colorado on Sunday, when they squandered a four-goal lead.

Alex Nedeljkovic, Carolina’s second-round draft pick in 2014, stopped 38 shots for Pittsburgh.

Dmitry Orlov scored his sixth for Carolina, which lost for the second time in three games and had its seven-game point streak halted. Pyotr Kochetkov had 18 saves.

Pittsburgh traded Guentzel to Carolina on March 7, along with Ty Smith, in exchange for Michael Bunting, three prospects and draft picks. Guentzel had six shots in 21:06 of ice time on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh is in danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight season after 16 consecutive postseason berths and winning three Stanley Cups between 2007-2022.

Carolina, meanwhile, is on the cusp of its sixth consecutive playoff berth. The Hurricanes believe Guentzel can help them in their quest for a Stanley Cup.

Guentzel scored 466 points in 503 games with Pittsburgh from 2016-2024. He also recorded 58 points in 58 playoff games with the Penguins and led the league in playoff goals during Pittsburgh’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2017.

Guentzel received a loud, sustained standing ovation while a tribute video played during a first-period break. Guentzel, who has two goals and 12 points in nine games with Carolina, raised his stick to the crowd and clapped in appreciation.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host Detroit on Thursday.

Penguins: Host Columbus on Thursday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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