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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins proved they could play with the best Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh rallied for four unanswered goals to post a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at Mellon Arena.

Nashville owns the best record in the NHL at 37-15-3.

"I think we had to look at it as a challenge. A lot of people were talking about how it wasn't a four-point game or it wasn't a conference game. We needed to find a way to challenge ourselves. When you're playing one of the best teams in the league, it's not hard to get up for that," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "We're pretty happy with that, obviously. I don't think we doubted ourselves. We came in with the right attitude and it was a nice win."

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned aside 25 of 26 shots, agrees.

"I thought it was cool. The guys played great and my defense helped me out a lot. The forwards got important goals at the right time," he said. "It's a good feeling to beat the best team in the league. It may have been just one more game for them, but for us it meant a lot to beat the best team in the league."

Nashville got on the scoreboard with 2:07 left in the first when Scott Nichol tipped a shot past Fleury.

Jordan Staal evened the scored at 1-all 5:46 into the second period. Crosby raced up the middle of the ice and flipped the puck to Staal along the near boards. He fired the puck at net and it deflected off a Nashville defender's stick and sailed inside the right goal post. Mark Recchi added an assist on the play.

Recchi found Evgeni Malkin for a power-play goal. He slid a pass across to Malkin on the far post. He one-timed it into the net for a 2-1 Penguins lead 8:05 into the period. Crosby added an assist.

Recchi gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 advantage 3:10 into the third period when he snapped a shot past Chris Mason. Malkin assisted on the play as Recchi swooped in from the far side. He made a move on a defender and fired a quick wrister that scorched into the net.

"That was a huge goal because, being up by two, you never know what could happen. It gave us that little confidence to stick to the plan," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Our players deserve a lot of credit and they stuck to the plan. The guys really worked hard and deserved to win. Marc-Andre is really, really solid and gave us a chance to win."

Jarkko Ruutu capped the scoring with 1:24 remaining when he tallied an empty-net goal. Colby Armstrong and Sergei Gonchar assisted on the play.

ICE CHIPS: Josef Melichar and Chris Thorburn were the Penguins' scratches...Shea Weber, Scottie Upshall and Josef Vasicek were the Predators' scratches...The announced attendance was 16,333...Marc-Andre Fleury (No.1), Sidney Crosby (No. 2) and Jordan Staal (No. 3) were the game's three stars.


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