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Penguins edge Bruins for fourth straight

by Brian Hunter
The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to open up a more comfortable lead in the Atlantic Division after winning their fourth consecutive game on Sunday.

The Boston Bruins' biggest concern is simply the health of forward Marc Savard.

Evgeni Malkin snapped a tie by scoring 1:27 into the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 21 saves as the Penguins edged the Bruins 2-1 at Mellon Arena, their second matinee win in as many days.

Pascal Dupuis also scored for Pittsburgh, which moved five points ahead of New Jersey in the Atlantic. The Devils played in Edmonton later Sunday.

Blake Wheeler's power-play goal in the second opened the scoring for the Bruins, who saw their six-game road winning streak come to an end. But their minds after the game were on the health of Savard, who took a shoulder to the head area from Matt Cooke of the Penguins after taking a shot with 5:37 left in the third.

Savard, who has missed 23 games this season with foot and knee injuries, was tended to immediately by trainers. He was immobilized and placed on a stretcher. He was moving his legs while on the ice and his arms while on the stretcher.

"We play a hard game and a dangerous game, but you never want to see anyone get hurt," teammate Dennis Wideman said.

The team released the following statement Sunday night: "Marc lost consciousness briefly on the ice after being struck in the head. He suffered a concussion from the hit. He was not transported to a hospital, but will remain at the team hotel in Pittsburgh with a member of the Bruins' medical staff tonight as a precaution. No further update on Marc's condition is expected tonight."

Cooke was not penalized on the play and said he was only finishing his check.

"At some point, there's got to be a clear indication from the League (what's legal and what's not) because we've seen this so many times now," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "You don't like to see anyone, your own teammate or an opposing player, lay on the ice like that."

Malkin, whose career-high 15-game points streak was snapped Saturday against Dallas, gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead with his 23rd goal of the season, a wrist shot from the right circle that went through traffic and past Boston goalie Tim Thomas.

Thomas, making a third straight start while Tuukka Rask nurses a knee injury, has rounded back into his Vezina Trophy form from a season ago since coming back from the Olympics, where he backed up Ryan Miller. He made 31 saves Sunday and has yielded just two goals in each game during his current stretch.

Each goalie allowed a puck he thought he had covered to slip into the net in the second. With Malkin in the box for hooking, Wheeler gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 3:12 when he shoved the puck past a prone Fleury. Dupuis evened the score at 8:57 on his third attempt against Thomas after taking a pass from Crosby.

"I just tried to jam it in there," Dupuis said. "He had his pad on it and I just pushed his pad a little bit behind the goal line and took a couple of whacks on it. I saw Rupper (Mike Rupp) on the other side pushing the other leg, so I knew the goalie was going to go into the net."

"It's frustrating as a goalie because, to be realistic, they let that go every time and it's impossible to hold your leg against the post," Thomas said. "A guy's pushing you into the net; it's ice, you slide, there's no way to hold yourself."

The assist extended Crosby's points streak to six games, including all four since he returned from leading Canada to Olympic gold in Vancouver.

Boston remained at 69 points, one ahead of Montreal, which played at Anaheim later Sunday.

"We fought hard but we're going to need to be a little more proactive offensively," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We have to shoot the puck a little bit more and we didn't do that enough tonight. … When we started doing that we created some momentum for us, so probably something to do a little better here as we move on."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

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