Crosby, Penguins beat Predators in shootout


Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby (87) moves the puck against the Nashville Predators. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

NASHVILLE — Late goals have hurt Pittsburgh lately. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins were able to reverse the trend Thursday night.

Crosby’s goal in the shootout gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators, ending a three-game losing streak.

It was the third straight game that has gone past regulation for Pittsburgh, which lost 2-1 to Philadelphia in overtime on Sunday and 3-2 at Carolina in a shootout on Tuesday.

But Crosby came to the rescue this time.

"That’s what he does for us," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I’ve run out of adjectives to describe Sid’s play. He’s a tremendous player and he’s the ultimate competitor."

Crosby, who has led Pittsburgh to three Stanley Cups, is fourth in the NHL with 93 points.

The Penguins centre rifled a wrist shot into the left side of the net to beat Nashville’s Pekka Rinne in the second round of the shootout.

Nashville’s Ryan Johansen missed a shot wide in the first round before Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray made saves on Ryan Ellis and Brian Boyle in the last two rounds.

Murray, who shut out Nashville in his previous two outings against the Predators, earned the win with 28 saves.

Pittsburgh has allowed eight goals in the final 3:01 of regulation or overtime since Feb. 23.

"I thought both goaltenders played really well," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "You see the time ticking down, that’s a huge goal (for Ellis), so it was good to get the point. I wish we had the puck a little more in overtime."

Bryan Rust scored in regulation for the Penguins, who moved into a second-place tie with the New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division with 91 points each. Murray, who shut out Nashville in his previous two games against the Predators, made 27 saves.

Ryan Ellis scored for Nashville, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Pekka Rinne made 32 saves in the loss as Nashville removed within two points behind first-place Winnipeg in the Central Division.

Rust gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead when he scored on a backhander at 5:57 of the second period. The left wing skated across the crease before firing the puck into an open net on Rinne’s stick side for his career-high 18th goal.

Ellis tied it at 1 with a wrist shot that beat Murray to the near post with 3:01 left in regulation. It was Ellis’ first goal since Feb. 5 against Arizona.

"Yeah, it was a bit of a knuckle puck and I just didn’t squeeze tight enough," Murray said.

Pittsburgh improved to 133-1-6 when leading after two periods since the start of the 2015-16 season, best in the NHL during that stretch.

NOTES: The Penguins have scored only five goals in the last four games. … Penguins LW Adam Johnson, 24, made his NHL debut. He was paired with C Matt Cullen and RW Garrett Wilson on the fourth line. Johnson was Wilkes-Barres/Scranton’s second-leading scorer with 40 points in the AHL. … This was the first of two meetings between the teams who meet again at Pittsburgh on March 29. … Nashville’s power play entered the game ranked 30th out of 31 NHL teams.


Pittsburgh: Visits Dallas on Saturday.

Nashville: Visits Winnipeg on Saturday in a showdown of the Central Division’s top teams.


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