RALEIGH, N.C. -- One losing streak had to end. Another had to continue.
That's what was facing the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. One team would leave the ice happy and relieved and other still searching for answers.
The Penguins won 3-1, ending a three-game losing streak in a Metropolitan Division game at PNC Arena. The Canes lost their third in a row, falling to 4-5-3 and dropping five points behind the division-leading Pens.
The Pens took a 2-1 lead late in the second period and Sidney Crosby, as he so often is, was largely responsible.
Crosby whipped a cross-ice pass to Chris Kunitz, who won a race against the Canes' Jordan Staal to the front of the net and banged the puck past goalie Justin Peters.
Crosby, the NHL's top scorer, then earned his second assist of the game in the third period, setting up the first NHL goal for rookie forward Jayson Megna. Crosby's shot glanced off Megna, who was playing in his second NHL game.
Nathan Gerbe, playing his 200th NHL game, had a power-play goal and the Canes had a 1-1 tie with the Pens after the first period.
Gerbe scored his fourth of the season on a short, sharp pass from rookie Elias Lindholm during a 5-on-3 advantage. The goal came after the Pens' Brandon Sutter tripped Alexander Semin and then Craig Adams was called for slashing.
Semin first got off a shot that was high. But moments later Semin passed to Lindholm to the right of Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Lindholm sent the puck to Gerbe in the slot, earning his first NHL assist while Semin's assist extended his point streak to four games.
The Pens had the first nine shots of the game and took a 1-0 lead when Tanner Glass followed up a shot by Megna for his second goal of the season. After the Pens won a face-off outside the offensive zone, Brooks Orpik chipped a pass to a breaking Megna on the right wing and Megna got off a shot from the right circle. It was his first career NHL point.
Orpik had three assists for his second career three-point game.
Peters, making his second start in net for the Canes, faced 12 shots in the opening period. The Canes closed with five but weren't lacking in physicality.
Early in the game, the Canes' Brett Sutter -- the cousin of Brandon Sutter -- was called for boarding Adams. Sutter and the Pens' Joe Vitale then dropped the gloves and each landed a series of blows.
The Canes killed off a high-sticking penalty against Tuomo Ruutu in the final two minutes of the first to maintain the 1-1 tie.
Canes coach Kirk Muller made some line changes early in the game. Eric Staal moved to left wing with Jordan Staal at center and Semin on the right side. Lindholm centered Gerbe and Tuomo Ruutu, and Riley Nash centered Jiri Tlusty and Pat Dwyer.
The Canes later went back to the line of Gerbe, Eric Staal and Semin.
Jordan Staal gave Canes fans a scare by briefly leaving the game early in their period after a collision with Kunitz in the Canes zone. Staal quickly returned to the game.
Pens forward Chuck Kobasew was injured in the first period and did not return to the game.
Canes forward Jeff Skinner missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury but could return Friday against Tampa Bay.
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