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Crosby scores twice in Penguins win against Blues

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin scored 1:03 into overtime and Sidney Crosby scored twice to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

Penguins forward Phil Kessel's pass to Malkin eluded two Blues after charging into the St. Louis zone. Malkin went in on goalie Jake Allen alone, deked to the left before going back to the right for his team-leading eighth goal, and fifth game-winner.

Pittsburgh (13-8-0) finished a four-game homestand 3-1-0. The Penguins will visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

"That's a tough team, St. Louis," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "When you're playing that type of team, they make you play 60 minutes. You can't have a letdown for any time and I thought we made some mistakes, but I didn't think we had a letdown."

St. Louis (14-6-3) has lost five of its past eight games since beginning the season 11-3-1.

Crosby, who tied his season-high with nine shots, gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead by scoring two goals for the first time in 47 regular-season games.

Crosby erased a 1-0 deficit with 3:41 remaining in the first. After Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis forced Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson to turn the puck over in his own zone, it trickled to Crosby between the faceoff circles, where he beat Allen with a slap shot.

The goal was Crosby's first in 11 games against the Blues. He has at least one point in each of his past three games.

"They're a big team. They're physical," Crosby said. "They came at us pretty hard, but we handled it really well."

Crosby scored again with Dmitrij Jaskin in the penalty box for hooking. Malkin fed Crosby in the slot, where he redirected a feed through traffic from Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist past Allen to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead 9:57 into the second period.

Wednesday marked the first time Crosby scored at least two goals in a regular-season game since Feb. 12.

"I think I was just able to get those opportunities," Crosby said. "When you get open ice, you have more time to read the play and to see what's open, and [Hornqvist] is always there. He's always near the net, so it's never a bad play to throw it there, and a lot of times tonight when I picked my head up, he was sitting there. So it's never a bad play to put it in an area when he's fighting for position there."

Blues forward Robby Fabbri scored a third-period goal for the second consecutive game. Fabbri's wrist shot from the top of the far circle tied the game 2-2 at 1:12.

A wrist shot from defenseman Ben Lovejoy at the end of a long shift gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead 6:49 into the third period.

St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo responded with 5:41 remaining by putting a wrist shot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the right faceoff circle.

"We have too much slowness in our game," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Too much slowness. From where we were before, we were in attack mode, and we're on our heels now. We're way too much on the heels now. We're constantly trying to slow the play down instead of trying to get the pace back up again. That's something we want to improve."

After Penguins defenseman Ian Cole went to the penalty box for holding the stick, Paul Stastny took seven seconds to give the Blues a 1-0 lead 9:15 into the first period. Alexander Steen sent a slap pass to Stastny left of the crease, where he redirected a shot past Fleury.

The Blues played their ninth game in 16 days and managed to come back from a third-period deficit for the second time in as many games. St. Louis scored two third-period goals on its way to a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

"Four (points) would be better. It's not easy playing comeback hockey, though," Pietrangelo said. "We have to find a way to get up on teams early and bury them. Good character shown coming back here, but it'd be nice to be up once in a while. But then again, it's tough on the road to carry that momentum for a full game."

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