Penguins bounce back, top Stars 5-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm •  Published: March 18, 2014
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Lee Stempniak have been playing together for less than two weeks.

Funny, they looked like longtime friends during Pittsburgh's 5-1 demolition of Dallas on Tuesday night.

Quick to the puck and even quicker to the net, the Penguins' top line overwhelmed the suddenly struggling Stars as Pittsburgh bounced back from a dismal weekend sweep at the hands of Philadelphia by jumping on Dallas early.

Crosby scored his 32nd goal less than 5 minutes in, added his 33rd early in the third period and dished out an assist on Stempniak's first goal with the Penguins to push his point total to an NHL-leading 91.

More importantly, Pittsburgh hardly looked like the team humbled by the Flyers during a forgettable home-and-home sweep.

"We weren't happy with those losses, we have to do better," Crosby said. "We wanted to make sure we went out there and played hard. It's a desperate team we're playing and hopefully we can build that same emotion, same intensity we had tonight and carry it over to the rest of the season."

Kunitz chipped in his 32nd goal after skipping two games with a leg injury and added an assist. Brandon Sutter pushed in a late short-handed goal and Jeff Zatkoff stopped 32 shots to win for the 11th time in his past 14 games.

Tyler Seguin scored his 31st goal for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen made 27 saves, but Dallas slumped again on the road. The Stars have been outscored 12-3 over their past two games to slip out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"I think you can't blame one guy for any of the goals," Seguin said. "This is a team matter we're going to deal with. It's just about execution. We've been showing glimpses of it lately, but too many breakdowns."

A no-no when playing Crosby. The Pittsburgh captain seemed energized by the return of Kunitz.

Reunited against a scuffling team trying to make a late run at the postseason, Crosby and Kunitz helped the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins rebound by playing with the chemistry that makes them one of the most potent one-two combinations in the league.

The game was less than 5 minutes old when Crosby put Pittsburgh in front. Fourth-line forward Craig Adams — finishing out his shift — dug out a loose puck in the corner and fed it to Crosby darting through the slot.