Sidney Crosby scored his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season and picked up an assist as Pittsburgh’s top line led the way in a 5-1 victory over Dallas on Tuesday night.
Lee Stempniak added his first goal since being acquired from Calgary two weeks ago and finished with two assists while Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist in his return from a lower body injury. Brandon Sutter scored a late short-handed goal and Jeff Zatkoff stopped 32 shots to win for the 11th time in his past 14 games.
The Penguins were humbled in a home and home sweep by Philadelphia over the weekend, but bounced back behind their captain.
Tyler Seguin scored his 31st goal for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen made 27 saves, but Dallas slumped again on the road and lost its third straight overall. The Stars were crushed 7-2 in Winnipeg on Sunday. They weren’t terribly better 48 hours later thanks in part to a rejuvenated Crosby.
The NHL’s leading scorer pushed his point total to 91 and seemed energized by the return of Kunitz, who skipped the weekend series with the Flyers after jamming his leg in a victory over Washington last week.
The game was less than 5 minutes old when Crosby put Pittsburgh in front. Crosby deked past Dallas defenseman Sergei Gonchar then held the puck long enough for Lehtonen to commit before slipping the puck into an open net to give the Penguins some needed momentum.
Seguin tied at 12:30 into the first with a pretty deflection off a Trevor Daley shot, but the game was tied less than three minutes before Kunitz pounced on a rebound off a Stempniak shot to put the Penguins in front to stay.
Stempniak finally broke through 13:21 into the second period when Kunitz hit him streaking through the slot and he knocked it in for his ninth of the season while getting tripped by Dallas’ Brenden Dillon in the process.