NEW YORK (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have plenty of familiar names up and down their roster. Now they are excelling even with some prominent players on the shelf.
Sidney Crosby didn't score any goals against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night — not in regulation, overtime or the shootout — but he assisted on two and helped the Penguins bounce back from a blown late lead and earn a 4-3 victory.
Brandon Sutter was the star this time as the Penguins played without injured center Evgeni Malkin and a slew of hurt or suspended defensemen. Sutter scored one of Pittsburgh's two third-period goals that gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead, and then netted the only tally in the five-round shootout.
"If everybody got healthy tomorrow, you'd talk about a significant group of guys getting back in the lineup," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "I don't think how we play — expectations, style of play, game plan — really changes much by getting one or two players back or getting everybody back."
The Penguins will be without Malkin again on Thursday when they host Minnesota, but suspended forward James Neal is expected to return after serving a five-game ban.
Still, Pittsburgh has been relying on fill-ins and hasn't missed a beat. The Eastern Conference-leading Penguins have won five straight and are 10-1-1 in their last 12.
"That's the good part about having these guys come in and play," Bylsma said. "They know exactly how to play, and they know what the expectation is. They've gone out and they've played that way."
Sutter gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead just 1:01 after Pascal Dupuis snapped a 1-1 tie, but Pittsburgh couldn't hold the edge.
Dupuis gave the Penguins their second lead, off a feed from Crosby at 5:25, and Sutter used a strong individual effort to make it a two-goal advantage at 6:26. Chris Kunitz had a goal and assist, and Crosby increased his NHL-leading point total to 49. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots through overtime and then five in the shootout.
Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard rallied the Rangers with goals 5:31 apart to tie it with 1:46 left in regulation.
Henrik Lundqvist got it to overtime and withstood a hard hit from Kunitz, who bowled him over in the extra session — striking the goalie in the head and taking a penalty for interference.