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division crown slip away in a 4-1 loss to Carolina

  • PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading to the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Brett Favre Jersey . Barring an epic collapse, a Metropolitan Division title is all but clinched. What happens after that, however, is anybodys guess. Dominant in the beginning but dismal at the end, the Penguins let a chance to clinch their second straight division crown slip away in a 4-1 loss to Carolina on Tuesday night that left Pittsburgh just 8-8-2 since returning from the Olympic break. Not exactly the kind of momentum a Stanley Cup contender wants to bring into the final days of the regular season. "If youre not 100 per cent, they can expose you and make you look pretty silly," Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik said. "Thats what happened here tonight." Carolina rookie Elias Lindholm scored twice for the first multi-goal game of his career, Eric Staal and Justin Faulk also scored while Jeff Skinner added two assists. Anton Khudobin stopped 30 shots as the Hurricanes avoided being swept in the season series by Pittsburgh for the first time in 18 years. "I thought we kept it simple and kind of slowly frustrated them as it went on and it was a win we needed," Staal said. Chris Kunitz scored his 35th goal to give Pittsburgh an early lead, but the Penguins crumbled over the final two periods. Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to push his NHL-leading point total to 100, but the Penguins appeared to lose interest after failing to bury the Hurricanes during a frenetic opening barrage in which they appeared ready to run Carolina out of the arena. "We all felt like the first 10 minutes we were carrying the play ... for whatever reason we got away from that," Crosby said. "Maybe we thought that came easy or we could get away with cheating. And it didnt work." No, it didnt. Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves, but received little help playing behind a sloppy defence. The Penguins turned it over 13 times, including a series of miscues the Hurricanes were only too happy to turn into goals. "I think we started mismanaging the puck and started having turnovers in the neutral zone," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. The Penguins appeared to right the enigmatic final third of their season with a spirited 4-1 victory over Chicago on Sunday night. Two days later, the sense of urgency evaporated when the Hurricanes -- who are about to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year -- failed to roll over. Pittsburgh recorded 12 of the first 14 shots, including Kunitzs wrist shot from the left circle that Khudobin never saw. Crosby picked up the secondary assist to lift his point total to the century mark for the fifth time in his career, drawing a roar from the usual sellout crowd at Consol Energy Center. It had all the makings of a blowout. One developed, just not the one the Penguins were expecting. Carolina steadied itself late in the first, evening the game on a knuckling slap shot by Faulk that gave the Hurricanes the confidence boost they needed to get back in it. The Penguins malaise did the rest. "That goal from (Faulk) really evens it up and then we kind of just took a deep breath, got our legs going better and then I thought we just started moving better and playing a much smarter game," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. Lindholm put Carolina in front to stay 9:24 into the second with a power-play goal that included a pretty feed from Skinner, who threaded a pass between Pittsburgh defenceman Olli Maattas legs right to Lindholms stick. Fleury never had a chance. The goaltender was equally helpless five minutes later when a turnover by teammate Deryk Engelland handed Skinner and Lindholm a breakaway that Lindholm converted into the first multi-goal game of his brief career. Any late push by the Penguins ended when Staals tip-in eluded Fleury with just over 8 minutes left. Instead of skating off the ice with their fourth division title since Crosbys arrival in 2005, Pittsburgh trudged to the locker room wondering when the consistency that propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference before the Olympic break will return. "Theres not much good to take out of it," Crosby said. "So weve just got to make sure we respond the next game." NOTES: Carolina played without F Alexander Semin, who was scratched due to an illness. ... The Hurricanes return home to face Dallas on Thursday. ... The Penguins fell to 45-8-4 this season when Crosby scores a point. Damarious Randall Jersey . -- Catriona Matthew remained atop the Airbus LPGA Classic leaderboard Friday, birdieing four of the last seven holes to take a one-stroke advantage over Charley Hull into the weekend. Ricky Jean-Francois Jersey . These teams will see plenty of each other in the next few weeks as three of the Canucks next nine games are against the Wild (after today they meet February 9th in Minnesota and again February 16th at Rogers Arena).SAN JOSE, Calif. - Robbie Lawler believes hes ready for another shot at the UFC welterweight championship he let slip through his hands four months ago. A number of fighters in the division can make the same claim. But the 32-year-old Lawler is the clear-cut favourite with four wins and a narrow loss in his five fights since returning to the UFC. "Everythings clicking at the right time," Lawler said. "Before, I wasnt ready for the stage. I didnt want to do these interviews. I didnt want to be in front of the cameras. I just wanted to beat people up and get out. Ive grown up now. Im doing what it takes to be a really good fighter." Lawlers lone loss since coming back was to Johny Hendricks at UFC 171 in March when the two fought for the vacant title left open after former champ Georges St. Pierre stepped down, saying he needed a break from the sport. Lawler (23-10, 19 KOs) is expected to get another crack at Hendricks, provided the top-ranked contender beats knockout artist Matt Brown (21-11, 13 KOs) in Saturdays main event at the SAP Center. It will be the Lawlers fifth fight in the past year. Included in those were knockout wins against Bobby Voelker and Jake Ellenberger, and a split-decision over Rory MacDonald. The win over Ellenberger on May 24 put Lawler firmly back into the title hunt after his loss to Hendricks in March. "Its good. It kept me busy, kept me working," Lawler said. "I didnt have to go into these last two camps trying to get into shape, so I could work on things. I could work on fine-tuning skills and just get better day to day." Lawler left the UFC a decade ago after consecutive losses to Nick Diaz and Evan Turner in 2004. On the fast track since his return, Lawler acknowledged he has watched very little tape of the scrappy Brown, who has woon his past seven fights — six by knockout. Quinten Rollins Jersey. . "I didnt watch any Ellenberger fights either," Lawler said. "I have about five or six coaches that do all the breaking down for me, and then they put me in those situations in practice. Its always worked out pretty good. So when Im in the fight, Ive already been there a million times." Hendricks, on the mend from an arm injury, has already made it clear he expects to fight the winner of the Lawler-Brown matchup, possibly early next year. Thats fine with Lawler, who plans to take a much-needed respite following his fight with Brown. Brown, ranked fifth in the welterweight division, is also looking to use the fight as a springboard into title contention. The 33-year-old veteran fighter hasnt lost since getting submitted by Seth Baczynski at UFC 139 in 2011. Brown is considered one of the most intense fighters in the UFC, and he did nothing to dispel that reputation during a public workout earlier this week. He brushed off talk of being an underdog and took a minor dig at his opponent when asked if he was a fan of Lawler. "I was more of a Nick Diaz fan when he knocked (Lawler) out," Brown said with a laugh. To prepare for the fight, Brown said he reverted back to his former style of training after previously being criticized for overworking. The workouts included carrying wheelbarrows and sleds, along with other fighters, up long, steep mountain trails. "I said, Lets go back to being raw, crazy, stupid ... in our backyard and just wrecking each other every day," Brown said. "I think it worked out good. We brought in tough guys and we just beat the (heck) out of each other. Its called getting back to the primitive, back to the raw, back to whats real. Back to what got me here." Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys AuthenticWholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
      March 16, 2018 10:33 PM MDT
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