Defenseman Matt Niskanen scored and added an assist while Pascal
Dupuis, Brandon Sutter and Chris Kunitz also scored for the
Penguins, who extended their Metropolitan Division lead to 14
points. Rookie goaltender Jeff Zatkoff made 24 saves and captain
Sidney Crosby added a pair of assists to extend his point streak to
Jason Pominville and Dany Heatley replied for Minnesota, which lost
for the first time in seven trips to Pittsburgh. Niklas Backstrom
stopped 31 shots en route to his fifth consecutive loss.
Dupuis banged home a rebound 49 seconds into the game to give the
Penguins an early lead and Sutter fired a loose puck from the left
faceoff circle 1:54 into the second period. Niskanen blasted a
one-timer from the point past a screened Backstrom on a power play
1:39 later and Kunitz chipped in a centering feed from Crosby at
10:43 of the period to extend the lead to 4-0.
[to top of second column]
Pominville scored 37 seconds after Kunitz’s tally and Heatley
cut the deficit to two 3:13 into the third period on a rebound
opportunity. The Wild had a lengthy 5-on-3 power play a couple
of minutes later, but Maatta was hooked by Minnesota defenseman
Jonas Brodin on a breakaway after exiting the penalty box and
his penalty shot attempt trickled past Backstrom to restore the
GAME NOTEBOOK: Wild D Keith Ballard fought twice following hip
checks on Pittsburgh players, squaring off against RW Chuck
Kobasew and LW James Neal after knocking them over. … Neal had
one assist and one shot in his return from a five-game
suspension. … Pominville leads Minnesota with 16 goals. … Crosby
leads the league with 51 points.
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