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Chris Kunitz's three goals lead Pittsburgh Penguins past Bruins 6-4 @NHLdotcom

PITTSBURGH - Chris Kunitz scored twice in 18 seconds early in the third period during a three-goal game, Petr Sykora got the game-winner later in the period and the Pittsburgh Penguins gained a valuable victory in the Eastern Conference race, beating Boston 6-4 on Sunday.

The Penguins rallied from deficits of 3-2 and 2-1 to beat the conference-leading Bruins for only the second time in six games and moved ahead of idle Montreal into fifth place in the crowded standings. The Penguins picked up at least one point for the 10th consecutive game, going 8-0-2 during a run that began with a seven-game winning streak.

Two of Kunitz's three goals came on deflections of teammates' shots that tipped his stick as they went into the net, including a power-play goal off a Sergei Gonchar shot 43 seconds into the third that tied it at three.

Not long after the ensuing faceoff, Kunitz got loose on a short breakaway and beat Tim Thomas by shifting from his forehand to his backhand before slipping the puck between the goalie's pads. Kunitz's 22nd goal was his sixth in nine games since being dealt by Anaheim at the trading deadline, although he didn't have a goal in his previous five games.

Michael Ryder tied it less than two minutes later with his 24th for Boston, which was trying to become the first NHL team to reach the 100-point mark this season. The Bruins had won two in a row after dropping five of six.

Sykora put Pittsburgh back into the lead again with his 24th midway through the period, only 13 seconds after Boston killed off a power play that included 17 seconds with a two-man advantage.

Jordan Staal shed a defender with a spin move in the corner and threw the puck to Sykora for a quick wrist shot from the left circle. Sykora was playing his second game after missing three games with an injured shoulder. Staal added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Phil Kessel scored his 31st goal and fourth in three games for Boston, and former Penguins player Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Bruins. Wheeler's short-handed goal in the second briefly put them up 3-2.

However, Wheeler's holding penalty 28 seconds into the third created the power play that led to the first of two Kunitz's goals in the opening 1:01 of the period.

Before that, Bill Guerin scored 50 seconds into the game, his second goal since being dealt to Pittsburgh. Recchi answered 16 seconds later by beating Mathieu Garon with a one-timer from just inside the blue-line as the Bruins scored on their first shot for the second day in a row. They scored on their first two shots during a 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Saturday.

Garon made 21 saves in only his second start since being traded to Pittsburgh on Jan. 17. Marc-Andre Fleury started the previous 19 games.

Sidney Crosby had three assists to reach the 90-point mark and has at least one point in 10 consecutive games. He has four goals and 17 assists in 13 games against Boston.

Notes: Five years after having the NHL's worst attendance, the Penguins played before their 100th consecutive sellout crowd. The streak began Feb. 14, 2007. ... Penguins executive Eddie Johnston was honoured before the game in recognition of his 25th season with the club. He has been their coach, general manager, assistant general manager and, in his current role, senior adviser. ... At the Bruins' request, the Penguins wore their white away jerseys during the second game of their eight-game homestand.

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