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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading to the playoffs for an eighth straight year. 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. Fake Soccer Jerseys . He was attracted by the punishing defence, the strong running game and a coaching staff he trusted. The 49ers announced Thursday that Manningham had signed a two-year deal to join the team he helped knock out in the NFC championship game two months ago in their latest offensive upgrade at wide receiver. 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Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Fiorentina levelled on aggregate in the 14th minute when Joaquin Sanchez Rodriguez headed back a long ball from David Pizarro and Pasqual smashed home an angled volley.New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning NBA Rookie the Year Michael Carter-Williams and Andrew Wiggins, the current favorite to win the award this season, highlight the selections for the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge. In a new format, 20 players will take part in the game as members of either the U.S. Team or World Team. The contest will be played on Feb. 13 at Brooklyns Barclays Center, two days before the NBA All-Star Game. Carter-Williams, the face of the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers, is averaging 15.3 points, 7.1 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game. Wiggins, picked first overall in the 2014 draft, has improved his game after a slow start. In 14 January games, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward is averaging 19.7 points on 46.6 percent shooting. Joining Carter-Williams on the U.S. squad are 76ers teammate Nerlens Noel, Orlandos Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Paytoon, Timberwolves teammates Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad, Utahs Trey Burke, Detroits Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brooklyns Mason Plumlee and Charlottes Cody Zeller.dddddddddddd Noel leads all rookies in rebounds, steals and blocks per game, while Oladipo is the sophomore class leading scorer. Wiggins will be joined on the World squad by Minnesota teammate Gorgui Dieng, Jazz teammates Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert, Oklahoma Citys Steven Adams, Milwaukees Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brooklyns Bojan Bogdanovic, Chicagos Nikola Mirotic, Bostons Kelly Olynyk and Atlantas Dennis Schroder. The U.S. team will be coached by Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry, while Atlanta assistant Kenny Atkinson is in charge of the World squad. Timberwolves forward Anthony Bennett, chosen with the first pick in the 2013 draft, was not invited to the game in either season he was eligible. ' ' '