Hurricanes gut out tough win and get a season sweep of Pittsburgh Penguins

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The Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be playing again this season, unless it’s in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The four-game season series ended Saturday, the Hurricanes gutting out a tough 2-1 victory to complete a season sweep at PNC Arena.

The Canes (27-9-7) again leaned on their new offensive power source: the defensemen.

Brady Skjei and Jalen Chatfield each had goals a game after five D-men — including Chatfield — found the net against Columbus. Skjei scored his ninth and Chatfield his fourth.

And the Canes again had goalie Frederik Andersen in net. After beating Columbus in his first game since Nov. 6, Andersen faced 32 shots and was named the first star of the game, getting some “Fred-die!”chants.

The Canes took a 2-0 lead into the third period, killing off 1:34 of a Penguins 5-on-3 power play that began late in the second. Andersen was calm and solid in net and Carolina keeping the heat on Pens goalie Casey DeSmith, who did his part to keep the Penguins in the game.

But Andersen made things interesting. He tried to catch and swat away the puck, only to knock it off Pens forward Rickard Rakell and into his net at 7:48 of the third.

The Canes had to kill off penalties in the third to seal it. The last came when Brent Burns was called for cross-checking with 1:02 remaining, but the Pens could not tie it with a 6-on-4 advantage after pulling DeSmith.

Takeaways from the game:

It has taken a while, and longer than he wanted, but Teuvo Teravainen is back in form, back on a line and in sync with Sebastian Aho.

Skjei and Brett Pesce could be the top pairing for many NHL teams. They can skate, they’re smart, they’re positionally so sound. Pesce has 10 points in his last 10 games.

And what about Skjei the sniper? He has nine goals this season and has never had 10 or more at any level of hockey.

Chatfield is getting better each game. Tough guy, rugged on D. And he can score, too. He did it again Saturday against the Pens off a Aho pass, his second in as many games.

Coach Rod Brind’Amour always talks about the need to have all four lines going. All four lines were going Saturday, each taking their turn putting some heat on DeSmith.

Brent Burns, faceoff man? It happened to begin the third when Aho was kicked out of the circle. Burns stepped in and cleanly beat Sidney Crosby, burning some seconds off a penalty kill.

Jordan Staal always, always, seems to accept and relish the challenge of matching up against Evgeni Malkin. Goes back to Staal’s Pittsburgh days. The competition between the centers continues.

Andrei Svechnikov has cooled offensively. That’s now seven games without a goal and two points. No. 37 is stuck on 19 goals.

Not a bad idea to send out the Aho line, with Teravainen and Seth Jarvis, with Skjei and Pesce to start the power plays, Canes were 3-for-20 in the last five games before Saturday.

Announced attendance for the State-Miami basketball game, which had a noon start, was 16,819. Add in a near sellout Saturday night for Canes-Pens and that was a lot of foot traffic in the building for the day/night doubleheader of hoops/hockey.