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Captain Crosby out again but Penguins down stumbling Stars 4-1 @NHLdotcom

DALLAS - NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 shots as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Sunday, their third straight win without captain Sidney Crosby.

Crosby began the day as the league's No. 3 scorer with 79 points but has missed three games due to a left groin injury.

Malkin had the primary assist on goals by Jordan Staal and Kris Letang and scored on the power play in the second period. He has 92 points in 64 games.

Miroslav Satan also scored for Pittsburgh, 5-1-1 in its last seven and 2-0 on its five-game road trip. The Penguins moved past Buffalo and Carolina into eighth in the Eastern Conference.

The Stars lost their season-high fifth straight, finishing a 1-5 homestand during which they fell below the post-season cutoff line in the West. Dallas has scored six goals during its slide.

Loui Eriksson scored a power-play goal for the Stars, breaking Dallas's 0-for-20 drought with the man advantage.

Rookie Tobias Stephan stopped 19 shots for Dallas in his first start since Dec. 13. Marty Turco had made 32 consecutive starts before getting a break Sunday.

Staal fired the rebound of Malkin's shot past Stephan at 4:08 of the first for his 17th goal.

Letang made it 2-0 at 16:21 of the period, skating in alone from the right side and backhanding a shot past Stephan.

Satan took advantage of a turnover by defenceman Trevor Daley to extend the lead to 3-0 at 8:18 of the second. Daley mis-hit a pass attempt, and the puck landed on the stick of Satan, who went in by himself and tapped a shot into an open net for his 17th.

Malkin connected from the slot through Stephan's pads at 12:38 of the second. His 29th goal gave the Penguins a 4-0 edge.

Dallas avoided its sixth shutout of the season when Eriksson registered his 28th goals at 6:02 of the third.

The Stars were without centre Steve Ott, suspended indefinitely by the NHL after he received a penalty for attempting to injure Anaheim's Travis Moen at the end of a game Saturday.

Ott won't be eligible to play until after a hearing with league officials that will determine a specific length of the ban.

Notes: This was the only meeting between the teams this season. Pittsburgh playing in Dallas for only the second time since 2003. ... Crosby was injured in a game against Washington last weekend. He skated before Sunday's game and said he's feeling better, but he's still not ready for game action. ... Penguins RW Petr Sykora remained in the lineup despite an upper-body injury that kept him out of practice Saturday.

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