Pittsburgh at St. Louis

Crosby's 4 points lead streaking Penguins past Blues 6-1

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STATS/AP

ST. LOUIS (AP) Matt Murray returned to the lineup Dec. 15, rejuvenated after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury.

What a spark he's provided for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Murray made 30 saves and Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists to lead the surging Penguins past the St. Louis Blues 6-1 on Saturday night.

''I'm just trying to get better as I go here,'' Murray said. ''I think everything is going in the right direction and I just need to stay focused on what's important.''

Juuso Riikola, Zach Aston-Reese, Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, who converted on all four power plays. Pittsburgh has won a season-best five consecutive games.

Murray improved his record to 9-5-1. He has won five straight starts since coming back.

''I think that he's making key saves and ones you don't always expect him to make, ones that look like they're maybe really good chances,'' Crosby said. ''Those are a big boost for a team and he's had to do it a number of times through this stretch and a lot tonight.''

Jake Allen allowed four goals on 17 shots before getting pulled for Jordan Binnington almost halfway through the game. Allen fell to 13-11-4 and has been replaced in five of his 29 starts.

Alexander Steen was penalized for high-sticking Bryan Rust nine seconds into the game. Crosby capitalized when he one-timed a pass from Patrik Hornqvist past Allen for his team-leading 17th goal 39 seconds into the ensuing power play.

''We get an early power play and get a lead,'' Crosby said. ''It's great that we scored. You at least want to carry some momentum from it.''

Crosby has nine points (one goal, eight assists) over his last three games.

Riikola fired a shot from the point past Allen with the Penguins on another power play 5:13 into the second period for his first NHL goal.

''It was awesome,'' Aston-Reese said. ''He's a guy who had a ton of chances, a lot of posts he hit. I think everybody's happy.''

Aston-Reese then netted his fifth of the season 2:04 later, and Letang followed with his ninth to end Allen's night.

David Perron scored his 13th with 5:24 remaining in the second to break up the shutout bid.

''They exposed us in different areas,'' Perron said. ''I don't think we lacked energy, I think they were just making better plays than we were tonight. You tip your cap, but at the same time it doesn't mean that we wouldn't want another crack at them tomorrow and see if the result would be different.''

St. Louis entered on a two-game winning streak but has not won three in a row since taking six straight in March last season.

''I thought we were ready to play,'' Blues interim coach Craig Berube said. ''We can't take the penalties we took tonight. First shift, penalty and they score. I thought our game was pretty good, though.''

Guentzel and Malkin scored against Binnington 33 seconds apart in the third period.

NOTES: St. Louis played its 4,000th game in franchise history, making it the 10th NHL team to reach that milestone. ... Blues D Alex Pietrangelo returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a broken wrist. ... Pittsburgh has not given up a power-play goal in 14 opportunities during its winning streak. . Rust exited 17:44 into the first period with a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Visit the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

St. Louis: Host the New York Rangers on Monday.

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Scoreboard
Pittsburgh  (20-12-6) «1326
St. Louis (15-17-4)0101
Three Stars
S. Crosby
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
K. Letang
PIT


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3
P. Kessel
PIT


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
48.0Power Play - Sidney Crosby (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Hornqvist, Kessel
2ND PERIOD
05:13Power Play - Juuso Riikola (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Pearson, Brassard
07:17 - Zach Aston-Reese (5), Tip-In. Assist: Letang, Crosby
09:25Power Play - Patric Hornqvist (14), power play. Assist: Letang, Kessel
14:36 - David Perron (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: O'Reilly, Steen
3RD PERIOD
03:05 - Jake Guentzel (16), Tip-In. Assist: Dumoulin, Crosby
03:38Power Play - Evgeni Malkin (12), Snap Shot. Assist: Kessel, Letang
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
09.0Steen, 2 min, High Sticking
13:11Pettersson, 2 min, Holding
2ND PERIOD
03:24Steen, 2 min, Interference
09:18Bouwmeester, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
03:05Edmundson, 5 min, Fighting
03:05Edmundson, 2 min, Roughing, served by Perron
03:05Aston-Reese, 5 min, Fighting
09:56Malkin, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
 123T
 1261230
 8121131
 
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