Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn scored in the third period and Jake Oettinger made 40 saves as the Dallas Stars hung on for a 3-2 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
Roughly four minutes after Oettinger made a brilliant pad save on Bryan Rust's backhander, Pavelski's goal broke a 1-1 game with 10:11 to play. On the power play, a shot from Miro Heiskanen went off the stick of teammate Jason Robertson (two assists in his 200th career game) and right to Pavelski, who pushed it past Pittsburgh goalie Casey DeSmith (30 saves).
Then, with 8:35 to go, Benn put in a rebound of Max Domi's shot, providing some important insurance for Dallas (39-19-14, 92 points), which is 2-0-1 following back-to-back losses to sit atop the Central Division by one point over Minnesota.
Sidney Crosby recorded his 31st goal for Pittsburgh and Pierre-Olivier Joseph scored through net-front traffic with 6:17 to play. The Penguins (35-27-10, 80 points), who have lost five of six but own the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, failed to convert a 6-on-4 advantage in the final minute.
Dallas' Roope Hintz opened the scoring 8:45 into the game. He corralled the puck from Robertson, skated through traffic, then sent it between the legs of DeSmith.
Meanwhile, Oettinger, who had allowed five goals in each of his last two starts, was stout in stopping all 15 first-period shots by the Penguins.
However, the Penguins came out flying in the second period, recording the first six shots. Pittsburgh was rewarded just four minutes into the second when Crosby, camped out on the side of the Dallas net, pushed in Mark Friedman's pass.
Heiskanen extended his point streak to 12 games, a franchise record for Stars defensemen.
Already dealing with injuries on its blue line, Pittsburgh did not dress goaltender Tristan Jarry due to a reported lower-body injury.
--Field Level Media