PITTSBURGH - Petr Sykora and Kris Letang each had two goals, and Sidney Crosby got back into action with a goal and two assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 6-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Jordan Staal added a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who weren't sure if Crosby would play until the morning skate. He missed last weekend's all-star game because of a sore knee. Pittsburgh scored five goals in the third period against all-star goalie Henrik Lundqvist to break open a 1-1 game.
NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin added two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots for Pittsburgh, which also beat the Rangers at home on Jan. 18.
Nikolai Zherdev and Marc Staal scored for the Rangers, 5-2-1 in their past eight games. New York's other regulation loss in that span was the 3-0 defeat in Pittsburgh 10 days earlier.
Crosby injured his knee on Jan. 14 against Washington, causing him to miss the following game. He played the next two, but when the knee didn't improve, he sat out the all-star game and skills contest - but was in Montreal for the event. Crosby said on Monday he was not in game condition.
He assisted on third-period goals by Letang and Sykora and closed out the scoring with his 18th goal, a pretty no-look backhander that Lundqvist high to the glove side with 1:40 left.
Letang had scored once in the previous 53 contests, but the defenceman got his second of the season off a feed from Crosby with 13:42 to play. He added another 10 minutes later, splitting the defence off a pass from Malkin, for his first two-goal game in the NHL.
After Zherdev gave New York the lead with his 13th goal just 2:24 in, the Penguins scored four straight.
The Penguins, the reigning Eastern Conference champions who entered the all-star break in 10th place, scored five times in a span of 17:19 of the third.
Sykora's first of the game and 18th of the season came 6:35 in. Neither team scored again until Jordan Staal put the Penguins ahead for good with his 15th at 1:11 of the third.
Sykora scored again - his 12th power-play goal of the season - while Pittsburgh had a two-man advantage midway through the third.
Notes: Pittsburgh forwards Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis returned to the lineup after missing time due to injuries. ... Pittsburgh RW Eric Godard and New York RW Colton Orr fought three seconds into the game. ... Rangers RW Ryan Callahan missed his first game this season. He sat out due to the flu. ... The Penguins were without D Brooks Orpik, who missed his third game in a row (undisclosed injury) and LW Matt Cooke, who was serving a suspension.