Crosby, Kessel keep Penguins rolling with 3-2 win over Wild
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists, and Sidney Crosby added a goal and assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins kept rolling with a 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.
Casey DeSmith, who stopped 40 shots to beat Minnesota on Dec. 20, made 31 saves for Pittsburgh, which tied its season high with its fourth straight road win.
Kessel has three points in each of his past three games and Crosby has four straight games with multiple points for the Penguins, who have won eight of their past 10 games, a season-high six games in a row and finished December 11-3-1.
Mikko Koivu scored for the first time in 15 games and Zach Parise added his 17th goal of the season for the Wild. Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for Minnesota, which has lost eight of its past 11 games.
The Wild snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday at Winnipeg and then opened the scoring against the Penguins.
Koivu started a rush from his defensive zone and got a pass from Nino Niederreiter in the slot, sending a quick shot past DeSmith. It was the first power-play goal allowed by Pittsburgh in six games. They had killed 14 straight short-handed situations.
It was Koivu’s 59th career power-play goal, tied with Marian Gaborik for most in franchise history.
Given their first power-play, the Penguins tied the game with Kessel sending a pass through defenseman Ryan Suter’s legs to Crosby alone on the back side for an easy tap-in goal.
It was the fifth-straight goal on the power-play for Pittsburgh, which was 4 of 4 in a 6-1 win against St. Louis on Saturday. Crosby has 10 points in the past four games.
Kessel scored his 17th goal of the season with 21 seconds left in the first period when his shot from the side deflected off Suter’s stick past Dubnyk.
Riley Sheahan scored in the second period for the Penguins and DeSmith helped the lead until Parise’s goal at 15:55 of the third.
Minnesota had 13 shots in a scoreless second, including several in which DeSmith made highlight saves. At one point, defenseman Jonas Brodin was sent in alone on a pass from Zach Parise, but DeSmith poked the puck away before Brodin could get a shot.
NOTES: Pittsburgh F Bryan Rust missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury he sustained in the previous game against St. Louis. He’s considered day-to-day. Zach Aston-Reese took Rust’s spot on Sidney Crosby’s line. ... Penguins D Olli Maatta was a game-time decision with a lower-body injury but was in the lineup. Jamie Oleksiak was a healthy scratch for the second straight game after missing three games with an injury. ... Minnesota D Nick Seeler (upper-body injury) skated before the game and coach Bruce Boudreau said Seeler could return on the team’s upcoming four-game road trip. ... Crosby became just the second player in Pittsburgh history to play in 900 games. Mario Lemieux is the all-time leader in games played with 915.
Penguins: Face the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Wild: Play Thursday in Toronto.
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