For desperate Pens, the kids are alright

Associated Press


Not much more than a month ago, Dominik Simon, Jean-Sebastien Dea and Casey DeSmith were playing minor league hockey in Wilkes-Barre for the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Fast forward to Tuesday night, when that unlikely trio carried Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions to an important win.

Simon and Dea scored 76 seconds apart in the second period, and DeSmith made 34 saves for the Penguins in a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

“They’ve been huge,” Jake Geunztel said of his rookie teammates. “They’re playing really well, and they have that excitement to be here. We have all been there — and to see that, it’s cool to be around, for sure.”

Guentzel added a goal midway through the third and Crosby extended the NHL’s longest active point streak to eight games for Pittsburgh, which has won six of eight.

Derek Ryan had the goal for Carolina, which has lost four of five and is 2-6-0 since beating the Penguins twice in a week spanning the New Year.

When Ryan gave the Hurricanes a short-lived lead 7:14 into the second period, there was reason to believe that might hold up because the Penguins had to that point scored just one goal in seven periods this season against Carolina and had been shut out for the prior 143:29 by veteran goalie Cam Ward.

But Simon — playing in his 20th career game — tied it just 49 seconds later when he skated down the right wing and flipped a deceptive wrist shot.

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