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game recap

Penguins hold off Stars, keep pace in Metropolitan

Dallas loses ground in West; McCann scores twice for Pittsburgh

by Jeff Miller / Correspondent

McCann's beautiful spinning SHG

PIT@DAL: McCann spins and scores shorthanded goal

Jared McCann receives a pass on the rush, spins and whips home a backhander to score a beautiful shorthanded goal in the 3rd period

  • 00:56 •

DALLAS -- The Pittsburgh Penguins kept pace in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Saturday.

Pittsburgh (41-24-11), which has at least a point in seven of its past eight games (5-1-2), is tied with the New York Islanders for second place, one point behind the Washington Capitals. Jared McCann scored two goals and Matt Murray made 29 saves.

"I am happy for our players," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "They competed hard down the stretch against a good team that's playing with a level of urgency because of obvious reasons at this time of year."


[WATCH: All Penguins vs. Stars highlights]


Dallas (38-31-6), which went 1-3-1 on a five-game homestand, holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche. Anton Khudobin made 27 saves.

"We could be sitting in a really comfortable position if we win three of five," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "But we haven't done that, so we look ahead now. And we've got to go and earn it on the road. There's nothing wrong with that."

McCann gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead at 4:20 of the third period, taking a pass from Teddy Blueger before spinning around Stars forward Tyler Seguin and scoring with a backhand while shorthanded.

"At that point in the game it's a tie game," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "You're thinking they could possibly get one on us, it's a power play. To be able to just try to hold them off would have been great. Then to score one's a big boost. I thought it really gave us a big lift. [McCann] was great all night, but that was a pretty unbelievable goal. A big goal in the game."

Jake Guentzel made it 1-0 at 15:25 of the first period on a power play after Phil Kessel's initial shot caromed off the leg of Stars defenseman Esa Lindell to him in the right circle. 

Video: PIT@DAL: Guentzel buries one on the power play

Pittsburgh was 0-for-11 on the power play in its previous four games.

Seguin tied it 1-1 at 1:03 of the second period off a cross-ice pass from Alexander Radulov.

Erik Gudbranson appeared to give Pittsburgh the lead at 5:24, but the goal was disallowed because of goaltender interference on Blueger. Sullivan challenged the play, but the call was upheld after a video review.

McCann scored his second to make it 2-1 at 14:41 on a one-timer from the low slot off a pass from Kessel, who intercepted a pass from Stars defenseman Roman Polak behind the net.

Andrew Cogliano tied it 2-2 at 18:40, scoring on the rush with a wrist shot from the left circle. It was his first goal since Feb. 1 (21 games).

Video: PIT@DAL: Cogliano snipes top corner on Murray

Dallas outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the third period and had a 6-on-4 for the final 1:20 after Bryan Rust was called for holding and Khudobin went to the bench for the extra skater.

"We don't make it easy on ourselves," Crosby said. "[Murray] made some unbelievable saves all night, but it was good to close that one out that way."

Montgomery said, "We're 6-on-4 and we rim the puck out of our own end. That's just lack of poise and playmaking ability that six players on the ice should own. They all have those capabilities."


They said it

"That's a goal-scorer's goal. He can score. No matter where we put him, he can score." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on Jared McCann

"It's disappointing for sure, but I feel like we still have a lot of confidence in this team and in this room." -- Stars defenseman John Klingberg


Need to know

Guentzel has 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in his past 12 games. … Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson played in his 100th NHL game. … Seguin has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his past nine games. … Stars forward Justin Dowling had two hits in 14:04 of ice time after being recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League earlier Saturday. … McCann has scored 11 goals, three shorthanded, in 26 games with Pittsburgh since being acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers on Feb. 1. He scored eight goals in 46 games with Florida. 


What's next

Penguins: At the New York Rangers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Stars: At the Winnipeg Jets on Monday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

Video: McCann scores twice as Penguins edge Stars, 3-2

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