Penguins win 11th straight
Matt Cooke scored two goals, Evgeni Malkin added his 40th of the season, and Sidney Crosby had three assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to their 11th straight win, a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils Saturday at Newark.
With the surge, the Penguins have 93 points - 2 behind the East-leading Rangers. Their winning streak is the longest in the NHL this season.
Crosby came through with a strong effort in the second game of his comeback from concussion symptoms, assisting on the goals by Cooke and Malkin.
Chris Kunitz, James Neal, and Pascal Dupuis also scored for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury made 12 saves for his 10th straight victory.
The Penguins attacked early and often, jumping out to a 14-2 shot advantage.
Crosby, showing no rust after missing more than three months, flew up the ice late in the second period only to be denied the first goal of his comeback by Martin Brodeur’s stellar glove save.
Avalanche 3, Rangers 1 - Rookie Gabriel Landeskog broke a second-period tie and Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves to lift visiting Colorado over skidding New York.
Landeskog gave the Avalanche the lead, and Varlamov made it stand up as playoff-hopeful Colorado finished a 2-0-1 Eastern road trip.
The Rangers’ once seemingly comfortable lead in the Eastern Conference is nearly gone with 11 games remaining. New York lost its second straight, and fifth in seven games. The Penguins can get even with the Rangers with a win Sunday in Philadelphia.
Sharks 3, Red Wings 2 - Marty Havlat scored with 1:37 remaining in overtime to get San Jose back into playoff position with a win over visiting Detroit.
The Sharks are now tied for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with Los Angeles with a game in hand.
Blues 3, Lightning 1 - Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves, Jaden Schwartz scored his first NHL goal, and visiting St. Louis topped Tampa Bay to become the first team to clinch a playoff spot.
Islanders 3, Canadiens 2 - Josh Bailey scored the shootout winner in the sixth round to lead New York over host Montreal.
Panthers 3, Sabres 2 - Dmitry Kulikov returned from a knee injury and scored the winning shootout goal as host Florida stretched its winning streak to four by slipping past Buffalo.
Hurricanes 5, Wild 3 - Tim Brent and Brandon Sutter scored in a 48-second span of the third period as Carolina rallied at St. Paul.
Maple Leafs 3, Senators 1 - Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist and James Reimer made 29 saves to help Toronto down host Ottawa.
Canucks 4, Blue Jackets 3 - Daniel Sedin scored two goals and host Vancouver ended a two-game skid by edging Columbus.
Kings 4, Predators 2 - Dustin Penner sparked a three-goal third-period blitz that broke open a tie game and carried host Los Angeles over Nashville.