Pittsburgh’s newly acquired forward Jussi Jokinen scored a goal in regulation in his team debut and then added the only tally in the shootout as the Penguins edged the New York Rangers 2-1 on Friday, opening a yawning 18-point gap atop the NHL Atlantic Division.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 shots and then stopped three Rangers in the shootout as Pittsburgh moved level on points with Chicago for the overall NHL lead, though the Blackhawks have three games in hand.
In other key results, bottom beat top in the Pacific Division as Dallas won at Anaheim and St Louis continued their form surge with a home win over Columbus.
Pittsburgh’s Jokinen, acquired from Carolina just before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, scored with a wrist shot 32 seconds into the third period. Rick Nash tied it with 4:49 remaining, but Jokinen struck again in the extra period.
The result leaves the Rangers tied with the rival New York Islanders for the provisional last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Dallas’ Alex Chiasson scored his first NHL goal and Lane MacDermid netted his second in two games since being promoted from the minors. Eric Nystrom had a short-handed goal for the Stars in their 3-1 road win over the Anaheim Ducks.
The Stars, whose four-year playoff drought is the longest in franchise history, are five points behind eighth-place St Louis in the Western Conference.
Andrew Cogliano scored for Anaheim, who had beaten the Stars twice in the previous four days.
St Louis goalie Jake Allen made 26 saves, while David Backes scored to lead the Blues over the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1, completing a third straight win.
Chris Stewart scored his team-leading 16th goal for St Louis, while Patrik Berglund added an empty-netter with less than a second remaining. The Blues are 15-2-1 when Stewart has at least a point.
Artem Anisimov scored Columbus’ sole goal.
Buffalo’s Brian Flynn and Jochen Hecht scored third-period goals 12 seconds apart as the Sabres rallied to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2.
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk knocked in a rebound at 4:45 of overtime to give the Red Wings a 3-2 win at the Colorado Avalanche and a hold on seventh place in the Western Conference.
San Jose’s Joe Pavelski scored on a rebound with 2:06 remaining to lead the Sharks to a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames and a seventh straight victory.