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game recap

Penguins top Stars, move back into first in Metropolitan

Oleksiak scores game-winning goal against former team to help Pittsburgh pull one point ahead in division race

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-1 win against the Dallas Stars at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.

Jamie Oleksiak scored the game-winning goal against his former team to help the Penguins (40-26-4) move one point ahead of the Washington Capitals in the division. Pittsburgh has won four of its past five games.

 

[WATCH: All Stars vs. Penguins highlights]

 

Casey DeSmith made 17 saves for the Penguins. The 26-year-old rookie won for the first time since Jan. 25, when he had 23 saves in a 6-3 win against the Minnesota Wild. DeSmith had allowed a combined six goals on 43 shots in his previous two starts.

Following a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he got the response he wanted.

"I was really pleased with the focus I thought our guys had," Sullivan said. "I thought from start to finish tonight, this was one of the more complete efforts that we've had all year on both sides of the puck. We had some pretty high-quality scoring chances. I thought every line contributed."

After Patric Hornqvist gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 12:57 of the first period, Oleksiak made it 2-0 with 3.7 seconds left in the period. He sent a slap shot past Jason Spezza and Kari Lehtonen's glove for his fifth of the season, which tied his NHL career-high from 2016-17 with the Stars.

The Penguins acquired Oleksiak from the Stars on Dec. 19 for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

"It's always nice to contribute, you know?" Oleksiak said. "I'm just happy for the win. … A good pass by Phil (Kessel) there, and I just kind of closed my eyes and shot as hard as I could."

Video: DAL@PIT: Hornqvist one-times Malkin's pass for PPG

Lehtonen made 27 saves for Dallas (38-25-6), which is 5-6-2 in its past 13 games. It holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.

"It's always a little disappointing to not get points at this time of year," Lehtonen said. "We played careless there, I felt like, through two periods. Too many penalties. [Pittsburgh] is a pretty good team. … We were hanging in there and hoping for a comeback, but that didn't happen tonight."

Hornqvist opened the scoring with his 20th goal of the season. With Marc Methot in the penalty box for cross-checking, Evgeni Malkin passed across the right face-off circle to Hornqvist, who one-timed a shot from the inner edge past Lehtonen's blocker.

Radulov made it 2-1 when he scored on a 5-on-3 at 12:03 of the second period. Spezza passed through the crease to Radulov, who sent a sharp-angle shot past a diving DeSmith.

Hornqvist thought he scored again at 17:28 of the second, but it was overturned following a challenge from the Stars, and it was determined the play was offside.

Malkin scored into an empty net with 43.7 seconds remaining in the third period to make it 3-1. It was his 39th goal of the season, one behind Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine for the NHL lead.

It was the first of a six-game road trip for the Stars.

"Go back to work and get ready for the next one," Radulov said. "Watch the video. Do some adjustments. We have a long road trip, so we need those points. Today, we didn't play our best, so we have to regroup, adjust and get ready for the next one."

 

Goal of the game

Oleksiak's goal at 19:56 of the first period.

Video: DAL@PIT: Oleksiask blasts Kessel's pass by Lehtonen

 
Save of the game

DeSmith's save against Tyler Pitlick at 7:57 of the second period.

Video: DAL@PIT: DeSmith blockers away Pitlick's chance

 

Highlight of the game

Radulov's goal at 12:03 of the second period.

Video: DAL@PIT: Radulov buries sharp-angle shot for PPG

 

They said it

"We have the opportunity to generate and we want to make the next play. We don't want to do the hard stuff to score. We don't want to put it into the areas that we need to. We don't put it on the net and pick it up from there. We want to make the next play. So, in the offensive zone, you end up playing sideways." -- Stars coach Ken Hitchcock

 

"We showed them we were ready to play. We understand we're not a tough team, but tonight, I thought we played one of the hardest games I've ever seen." -- Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin

 

Need to know

Stars forward Mattias Janmark (illness) and Methot (lower body) played after each was a late scratch against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. … Penguins forward Sidney Crosby had two assists and is two shy of 700 in his NHL career.

 

What's next

Stars: At the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN2, FS-SW+, NHL.TV)

Penguins: At the New York Rangers on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Crosby, Malkin lead Penguins past Stars, 3-1

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