Kris Letang had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who improved to 9-3-0 in their past 12 games. Teddy Blueger also scored, and Tristan Jarry stopped 33 shots.
Florida dropped to 1-3-1 since returning from the All-Star break. Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, and Brett Connolly also scored. Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves.
Pittsburgh had a 2-1 lead before Crosby’s power-play goal 3:50 into the second. Crosby deflected a shot from Jared McCann past Bobrovsky.
“It was a good heads-up play by Jared to find me (through traffic) and I had the opening on the side," Crosby said.
The Penguins had been 0 for 11 on the power play the past two games.
The Panthers closed to 3-2 when Vincent Trocheck passed across to Connolly in the left circle and his wrist shot beat Jarry at 4:59 of the second.
Jarry withstood a late flurry by the Panthers, who had five shots on goal and two misses in the final 2:06.
“I just had to be prepared to stop whatever came at me," Jarry said. "I just tried to get in front of (the shots) and try to look as big as I could and have them miss the net.”
The Panthers have dropped four of five, but the performance against the Penguins was an improvement after Thursday's 7-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.
“A frustrating loss. We did a lot of good things. It’s one of those games where when you play like this you’re going to win the vast majority of these games," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Penguins went ahead to stay when Letang exited the penalty box, grabbed a loose puck and converted a backhand on a breakaway 6:30 into the game.
Blueger made it 2-0 at 10:44. He poked in a rebound for his eighth of the season.
Hoffman trimmed the lead to 2-1 when he fired a shot from the right circle that got past Jarry with 2:38 left in the first.
“It felt annoying," Hoffman said. "We played really well. A couple of their goals, we made it too easy for them to get. They're a good team and they're going to earn goals themselves. We can't give them too many free ones like we did tonight.”
NOTES: Penguins D John Marino did not play due to an injury suffered in Thursday’s loss at Tampa Bay. ... Panthers C Aleksander Barkov returned after missing three games with a lower-body injury. ... D MacKenzie Weegar, who missed 16 of the last 17 games, returned after missing Thursday’s game against Vegas with an illness.
Penguins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday
Panthers: Visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday
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