RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored on the power play in the second period, and Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Tuesday.
The Penguins (37-14-8) had lost two in a row. They trail the Washington Capitals by three points for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Cam Ward made 19 saves for Carolina (24-24-8), which lost its fifth straight. It has been outscored 19-4 during the streak.
WATCH: All Penguins vs. Hurricanes highlights
Scott Wilson gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 2:15 of the first period when he redirected Patric Hornqvist's shot from the right boards.
Jeff Skinner scored on the power play at 8:00 to make it 1-1 with his 20th goal. Lee Stempniak curled away from the net and found Skinner alone in front. Matt Cullen turned over the puck along the boards before Phil Di Giuseppe passed to Stempniak.
Video: PIT@CAR: Wilson opens scoring on redirection in front
Pittsburgh took five minor penalties through two periods, three by Evgeni Malkin and two by Crosby.
"It took away from getting the start we wanted," Crosby said. "We finally got a lead, and I thought we had a really good third period. The first two were an uphill climb for us."
Crosby's 5-on-3 power-play goal put Pittsburgh ahead 2-1 at 16:21 of the second period. He set up in front of the net and redirected Phil Kessel's shot for his NHL-leading 33rd goal. Sebastian Aho and Viktor Stalberg were in the penalty box for interference and slashing.
Malkin made it 3-1 at 9:41 of the third period. He won an offensive-zone draw to Carl Hagelin, who circled the net and set up Malkin in front of the net for his 25th.
"It's important that you know how to finish games, you know how to play with the lead," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "Our team knows how to do that. Our team is at its best when we go at teams; we just try to do it in a responsible way. I thought our third period tonight was by far our best."
Video: PIT@CAR: Skinner finishes off beautiful passing play
After allowing 24 shots through two periods, Pittsburgh limited Carolina to six in the third. The Penguins are 25-0-0 when leading after two periods.
"Once we got going tonight, we dominated," Murray said. "That third period was exactly how we need to play to be successful. We didn't really give them any chances whatsoever in the third, so that's how we need to shut down the other team when we have a lead."
Goal of the game
Crosby's goal gave the Penguins a bit of momentum when they were struggling to get into the offensive flow.
Video: PIT@CAR: Crosby pots PPG with nifty deflection
Save of the game
After stopping Elias Lindholm on the doorstep, Murray used the open palm of his blocker to reach behind and knock down Victor Rask's shot at an empty net with 5:43 remaining in the second.
Video: PIT@CAR: Murray stuffs Lindholm on the doorstep
Highlight of the game
Much of the credit on Malkin's goal goes to Hagelin, who beat Ron Hainsey to the back of the net before putting a pass into the slot for Malkin.
Video: PIT@CAR: Malkin buries slick feed from Hagelin
Unsung performance of the game
Penguins defenseman Ian Cole played 6:02 on the penalty kill and blocked four shots.
They said it
"Sometimes that's how you have to win. We know we have to be better. There are a lot of teams out there who would like to come out of a game not playing as good as they want to and still win. So we will take the two points." -- Penguins forward Sidney Crosby
"When you have an opportunity to get a lead on a team like this, you have to do it. If you don't, you see what happens. They get a 5-on-3, they capitalize, and you're chasing it from there." -- Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey
Need to know
Pittsburgh defenseman Trevor Daley left in the first period with a lower-body injury. Sullivan said Daley will be evaluated in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. ... Hagelin played his 400th NHL game. ... Pittsburgh has had one three-game losing streak this season. ... The Hurricanes have two even-strength goals during their five-game losing streak. ... This is Carolina's second five-game losing streak in the past 13 games.
Penguins: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at Heinz Field (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, NHL.TV)
Hurricanes: Host the Ottawa Senators on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN5, FS-CR, NHL.TV)
Video: Pens defeat Hurricanes, 3-1