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Dea delivers for Penguins in win against Hurricanes

By Wes Crosby / Correspondent, 01/24/18, 9:45AM CST


Forward's first NHL goal breaks tie in second period

PITTSBURGH -- Jean-Sebastien Dea's first NHL goal broke a tie in the second period, and Casey DeSmith made 34 saves to help the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.

Dea, who was playing his fourth NHL game, gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead at 9:19 of the second period. Bryan Rust backhanded a pass to Dea gliding toward the crease, allowing him to deflect it by Cam Ward.

"It was special," Dea said. "I don't know what to say right now. It's a pretty amazing feeling. I've dreamt about it since I was a little boy. It's just really amazing right now. … I ran into the ref or the other guy [Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin] after that. I just wanted to get out of there and [celebrate] for that goal."

Jake Guentzel made it 3-1 at 11:02 of the third.

DeSmith has allowed fewer than three goals in each of his three NHL starts. He made 28 saves in a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings in his first start on Jan. 18 before allowing two goals on 36 shots in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

"I'm just happy to be out here," DeSmith said. "I'm playing hard and guys are playing hard for me. That's why I've gotten a couple wins here. So, they're playing pretty responsibly in front of me and they're making my job pretty easy, letting me see the puck and stuff like that.

"I've played worse in my life, for sure. I'm just playing at a high level right now and I'm fortunate it's coming at this time."

Ward made 30 saves. He allowed one goal on 49 shots in his prior two games against the Penguins this season.

Pittsburgh (26-21-3) has outscored its opponents 18-9 during a four-game home win streak.

Carolina (21-19-8) has lost eight of its past 11 games (3-7-1).

"I wasn't disappointed with the overall effort," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Some of the execution, we could've been a little bit cleaner with the puck and executed at a higher level. But again, there were some good looks."

After Derek Ryan gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 7:14 of the second period, Dominik Simon and Dea scored 1:16 apart.

Simon carried down the far wall to the top of the right face-off circle before sending a wrist shot past Ward's glove, tying it 1-1 on his second NHL goal at 8:03 of the second before Dea made it 2-1. Simon has scored twice in his past three games after going his first 18 NHL games without a goal.

Sidney Crosby had the primary assist on Simon's goal to extend his point streak to eight games. He has 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) during that stretch.

Ryan opened the scoring when he collected Lee Stempniak's rebound with his left skate and scored on a wrist shot for his 10th goal of the season.

"We had the momentum after we scored there," Ryan said. "We had to keep it and we kind of let them score right away and take the momentum right again. We had it in spurts after that, but we didn't have it for a long enough time after that.

"We have the [All-Star] break coming up, so we to kind of just flush this one. … Hopefully start putting some points on the board."

They said it

"We weren't making the play. We were a step behind and were disconnected from each other for the first 20 minutes. After that, I thought we got better. We spent some good time in the offensive zone, but they're a good team. They capitalized on their opportunities and we didn't." -- Hurricanes forward Derek Ryan

"[Dea] gets his first NHL goal tonight. That's always a great experience. He'll never forget that as long as he lives. The energy that's around that, every player on the bench remembers their first goal. So, I think everyone gets excited when that happens." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan