Penguins beat Sharks, solidify division lead

AP, PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania

Sat, Dec 07, 2013 - Page 19

Pittsburgh overcame the late withdrawal of Evgeni Malkin to cruise past high-flying San Jose 5-1 on Thursday, scoring four goals in the third period.

The Penguins opened a yawning 11-point lead atop the Metropolitan Division, while the Sharks missed a chance to build their lead atop the Central Division.

Elsewhere, Marco Scandella found a good time to score his first goal of the season, with his late strike lifting Minnesota over Chicago. Montreal made it nine straight wins to overtake Boston as Atlantic Division leader, and Toronto ended a five-game skid by beating Dallas in overtime.

Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz scored twice during the four-goal second period, while Pascal Dupuis, Jayson Megna and Kris Letang also netted for the Penguins, who snapped San Jose’s six-game winning streak.

Sidney Crosby had three assists in his 500th career game to push his point total to an National Hockey League (NHL)-leading 42, while Malkin pulled out after sustaining a lower-body injury during the morning skate.

Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks, who lost in regulation for only the fourth time this season.

Minnesota’s Marco Scandella netted a slap shot with 1 minute, 48 seconds left to give the Wild a 4-3 win over Chicago.

Jonas Brodin scored on a power play with 5:39 remaining to tie the game for the Wild, who raised their home record to 12-3-2 and handed the Blackhawks their first loss in their past seven road games.

Montreal’s Max Pacioretty scored his ninth goal in nine games to help the Canadiens edge Boston 2-1.

Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal, who jumped a point ahead of Boston atop the Atlantic Division, but the Bruins have two games in hand.

Gregory Campbell scored for Boston, who had defenseman Johnny Boychuk stretchered off in the first period after a hit by Pacioretty, who got two minutes for boarding. After the game, coach Claude Julien said Boychuk was released from hospital and would return to Boston with the team.

Toronto’s Trevor Smith scored in overtime to help the Maple Leafs beat Dallas 3-2, ending a five-game skid.

The Leafs won despite being outshot for the 10th consecutive game, this time 50-24.

Nazem Kadri scored twice for Toronto in his return after missing a game to attend his grandfather’s funeral.

Shawn Horcoff scored for the Stars on a power play to tie it 2-2.

St Louis’ Derek Roy and David Backes scored power-play goals in the second period to power the Blues to a 5-1 win over struggling New York.

The Islanders have lost eight straight overall and eight in a row on the road.

Jay Bouwmeester, Magnus Paajarvi and Brenden Morrow also scored for the Blues, who improved to 12-1-2 at home and tied Boston for the most home wins in the NHL.

Andrew MacDonald scored for the Islanders.

Tampa Bay’s Martin St Louis scored twice as the Lightning beat Ottawa 3-1.

Carolina’s Jeff Skinner had a hat-trick to lead the Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over Nashville.

Florida’s Dylan Olsen scored his first NHL goal to help the Panthers beat Winnipeg 5-2.

Edmonton’s Taylor Hall had a hat-trick and an assist to help the Oilers rebound from a lopsided defeat with a surprising 8-2 rout of Colorado.

New York’s Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to help the Rangers beat Buffalo 3-1.