RALEIGH, N.C. -- James Neal scored 63 seconds into overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory against Carolina at PNC Arena tonight.
The Penguins (28-11-1) won for the eighth time in their past nine games.
Neal secured the victory when he took a feed from former Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen and beat goalie Justin Peters from the left hash mark for his 11th of the season.
It was the Penguins' first game this season without first-line right winger Pascal Dupuis, who will require surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and might be out for the balance of the season.
His spot with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz was filled by Joe Vitale and Neal.
Although the Penguins were missing Dupuis, they did get three players back: Defenseman Brooks Orpik and winger Tanner Glass returned from injuries, while defensemen Deryk Engelland had completed a five-game suspension.
Although Carolina had an edge in play -- and a 16-7 advantage in shots -- during the opening period, the Penguins appeared to take a 1-0 lead during a scramble in the Hurricanes' crease with 61 seconds to go before intermission.
The NHL's situation room in Toronto was going to review the play, but was informed by one of the referees that he was in the process of blowing his whistle to stop play while the puck was under goalie Justin Peters and before it entered the net.
Per Rules 78.5 (xxi), "Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the referee when the referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle."
That ruling become more significant with 1.3 seconds left in the period, when Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera threw a backhander past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's glove from inside the left circle on the final shot of the first.
Crosby pulled the Penguins even just 16 seconds into the second, beating Peters with a backhander for his 21st of the season, off assists from Neal and Olli Maatta.
The tie lasted even less time than the Hurricanes' initial lead had, however, as Nathan Gerbe knocked an Alexander Semin rebound past Fleury 30 seconds into the second to make it 2-1.
Chris Conner tied the game again at 1:58 of the third, as he carried the puck down the left side before cutting inside of Carolina defenseman Ryan Murphy and beating Peters with a backhander for his fourth. Jussi Jokinen and Neal received assists.
Defenseman Deryk Engelland gave the Penguins their first lead of the evening when he scored his third of the season from the right side at 13:15, but Drayson (cq) Bowman countered for Carolina at 17:31 to force overtime.
The Penguins will close out the first half of their season with a game in Columbus on Sunday.
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