ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist in his return after a one-game absence for a lower-body injury and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 Saturday night.
Eric Fehr and Patric Hornqvist also scored and the Penguins won back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 17-19. Pittsburgh beat Columbus 5-2 Monday night without Crosby.
Matt Murray made 25 saves and Pittsburgh won for just the third time in its past 10 games. Kris Letang had a pair of assists after missing the past six games with an upper-body injury.
Minnesota has lost six of its last seven against Pittsburgh. Jason Zucker had the Wild’s goal, and Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves.
Pittsburgh’s five-goal outburst Monday included two scores each by Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Over their previous five games, the Penguins had scored just six times and earned just one point in the standings.
After a four-day layoff, the Penguins held an 11-4 shot advantage in the first period and started the second with a flurry. Pittsburgh had the period’s first five shots and finally capitalized with Crosby’s first goal in eight games and second in 12.
Wild defenseman Ryan Suter turned the puck over in the neutral zone, leading to a Pittsburgh rush. David Perron ultimately got the puck near the left corner and quickly passed to Crosby just above the left dot. His one-timer beat Dubnyk on the stick side.
Pittsburgh had nine of the period’s first 10 shots with Minnesota’s lone shot coming on a power play. The Penguins held a 20-5 shot advantage through 28 minutes. The difference was 27-12 after two periods.
Fehr made it 2-0 with 1:50 remaining in the second period when, charging down the slot, he tipped a pass from Kevin Porter past Dubnyk.
Zucker scored for Minnesota 45 seconds later when his shot from the left circle eluded Murray, but Pittsburgh went up 3-1 on Hornqvist’s power-play goal 31 seconds after that.
Letang’s shot from the top of the slot bounced off the end boards to Crosby at the right post. Dubnyk stopped Crosby’s stuff attempt, but the rebound trickled across the crease to Hornqvist. He swatted the puck in while fighting off a defender.
NOTES: Pittsburgh began a stretch where it will play seven of 10 games on the road. … Minnesota fell to 13-5-1 on home ice. … The Penguins recalled F Scott Wilson from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. … Ryan Carter was a scratch for Minnesota. He’s nursing an upper-body injury.