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RALEIGH Adidas Greg Pateryn Jersey , N.C. (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins are going one way in the Eastern Conference and the Carolina Hurricanes are going the other.Sidney Crosby set up three goals and Matt Murray made 38 saves as the Penguins defeated the Hurricanes 3-0 Saturday night.Jake Guentzel scored twice and Kris Letang added a goal for the Penguins, who won for the fifth time in six games. It was Murray’s second shutout in 14 starts this season.“The last little stretch here, we’ve been playing really, really well,” Murray said. “The last 10 games or so, I would say our team has been trending in the right direction and getting better and better. We definitely wanted this one to end it on a good note.”The Penguins will get four days off before they have to get back on the ice for another game. After six games in nine days, it’s a welcome break.“We’ve played a lot of hockey in a short period of time,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “These guys they continue to play hard night in and night out. I couldn’t more happy for them. They deserve it.”Crosby, who has nine points in the past five games, has helped pick the Penguins up in the Eastern Conference standings. The Penguins had lost nine of 10 before catching fire near the end of November. They are 11-4-2 since Nov. 21, when they were in last place in the conference. With 42 points, the Penguins are in eighth-place in the Eastern Conference after Saturday’s win.Crosby wrestled with the value of taking some time off with wanting to keep the momentum going.“A break is good in a way Adidas Andrew Hammond Jersey , you get some rest and you get to recharge,” Crosby said. “When you’re going like this, you want to keep going.”The Hurricanes lost for the fifth time in six games.Crosby set up behind the Carolina net and fed Letang for Pittsburgh’s first goal at 8:41 in the first period.The second goal, just 3 minutes into the second period, was nearly identical. This time Crosby found Guentzel in front of Carolina goalie Curtis McElhinney for the score.Crosby set up Guentzel for his second goal with 50.3 seconds left in the second period. Guentzel was alone in front of McElhinney and netted his 15th goal of the season.The Hurricanes, with 33 points, are two points out of last place in the conference.Carolina winger Warren Foegele had two breakaway chances in the first period, but Murray stopped both.The only goal that initially appeared to get by Murray came with 2 minutes left in the first. Dougie Hamilton’s slap shot from the right point sailed past Murray’s right shoulder and hit the inside of the crossbar. It was ruled a goal and then overturned.The Hurricanes fell to 2-6-1 in December and have one win in five home games this month. The players had a long meeting after the 4-1 home loss to Detroit on Thursday night. They talked about resiliency and mental toughness.Carolina was shutout for the third time this season and first time at home.“Defensively, as a unit we’re working pretty well,” Crosby said. “It takes time to do that but it takes a lot of effort, too. I thought we did a good job, especially the last week or two Adidas Matt Bartkowski Jersey , of just focusing on taking care of our own end.”NOTES: For the first time since moving to North Carolina in 1997, the Hurricanes will wear the old Hartford Whalers uniforms on Sunday in their home game with the Boston Bruins. Carolina owner Tom Dundon, who bought the team last January, has embraced the marketing opportunities with the popular green-and-blue Whalers logo. … The attendance of 16,264 featured plenty of Penguins fans in black and gold. … Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan improved to 10-3-1 against the Hurricanes during his four-year tenure with the Penguins.UP NEXTPenguins: Get a four-day break before hosting Detroit on Dec. 27.Hurricanes: Host Boston on Sunday. NEWARK, N.J. (AP) While Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier have been getting much of the credit for New Jersey’s surprising playoff push, goaltender Keith Kinkaid has been the one carrying the Devils back to the postseason the past two weeks.Kinkaid made 35 saves and the Devils took another major step toward making the playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.Hischier and Kyle Palmieri scored for New Jersey, which has elevated its playoff chances with wins in five of seven games – including outstanding efforts in beating the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning on consecutive nights.”Keith has been a difference maker,” Devils coach John Hynes said of Kinkaid, who had 75 saves the past two nights. ”He has really come in and played well. He has made key saves at key times. He obviously won quite a few games and been a real important factor for us in remaining competitive in the playoff race. We would like to see him continue that at that level, as well.”Kinkaid is 11-3 in his last 14 decisions since taking over the No. 1 goaltender’s job after Cory Schneider was hurt in late-January and keeping it after Schneider returned.Coupled with Florida’s come-from-behind win over Arizona, the Devils are three points ahead of the Panthers in the race for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games left in the regular season. Florida has two games in hand.”I felt good last year with ups and downs Adidas J.T. Brown Jersey , but once you get on a roll, confidence can take you a long way and I feel as comfortable as ever,” Kinkaid said.The Devils had to work for this one. They took a 2-0 lead into the third period and saw the margin halved when Ondrej Palat scored on a power play early.Kinkaid saved the lead – and the win – with a diving save on a close-in attempt by Ryan McDonagh with just over two minutes to play and the net wide open. McDonagh said his shot hit the goalpost and Kinkaid then covered it.”I hadn’t been getting those bounces, but nice to get a few,” Kinkaid said.Andrei Vasilevskiy had 29 saves as the Lightning lost for only the third time in 16 games (12-3-1).”We didn’t have that urgency to play with a team that was flying tonight,” Tampa Bay forward Chris Kunitz said.Hischier, who set up Hall’s overtime winner in Pittsburgh on Friday night, gave the Devils the lead, tapping the rebound of a shot by fellow rookie Will Butcher into an open net at 17:51 of the first period.Palmieri doubled the lead at 10:59 of the second period, beating Vasilevskiy with a snap shot from between the circles for his 21st goal.”We didn’t give them much the whole night,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”They capitalized on a rebound that squirted out and a goal-scorer making a goal-scoring move. We did a lot of things, but couldn’t find the back of the net tonight.”Kinkaid stopped 24 shots in the first two periods Adidas Adam Pelech Jersey , and benefited in the second when Nikita Kucherov, the league’s leading scorer, missed the net on a breakaway.The Lightning were furious with linesman Steve Miller late in the second period when J.T. Miller was hit with a delay of game penalty for a faceoff violation with Tampa Bay about to go on a power play. Miller kicked three players out of the faceoff circle, starting with Steven Stamkos of the Lightning, Travis Zajac of the Devils and then Miller, who refused to comment on the penalty.NOTES: The Devils signed G Cam Johnson to a one-year, entry-level contract, which will start next season. He is a college free agent who completed his senior season at the University of North Dakota. … D Ben Lovejoy was out of the Devils’ lineup for the first time since Dec. 30 and replaced by Mirco Mueller, who was playing for first time since Feb. 22. Mueller had an assist on Hischier’s goal.UP NEXTLightning: Return home to face Arizona on Monday.Devils: Host Carolina on Tuesday in second of four-game homestand.—
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