Pens Beat Canadiens
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Penguins forward Jason Zucker is settling in nicely after two games with his new team.
Zucker scored his first two goals with the Penguins during a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.
“To me, it was about the win,” Zucker said. “It was good to get that winning feeling back and great to do it with these guys. It was a fun night.”
Zucker scored his 15th and 16th of the season in a 1:42 span, with Montreal’s Tomas Tatar getting a goal in between. Zucker provided 2-0 and 3-1 leads and has nine goals in 12 career games against the Canadiens.
“I thought his speed was more noticeable, and he had two real good goals,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’re excited about having him and we think he’s only going to get better.”
Kris Letang scored a power-play goal against his hometown team and his 13th overall of the season, and Zach Aston-Reese added an empty-net goal.
Tristan Jarry made 34 saves for the Penguins, who moved within three points of first-place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh has 10 wins in its last 14 games.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had three assists. He has points in nine of 11 games since returning from core muscle surgery on Jan. 14, including a current three-game point streak. He has five goals and 17 points in his last 11 games.
Crosby felt his newest linemate looked comfortable Friday.
“I thought he was flying,” Crosby said. “He created a lot and got a couple good goals for us.”
Tatar scored his 21st of the season for Montreal, which lost its third straight after winning nine of 12.
Carey Price made 24 saves for the Canadiens, who failed to score more than two goals in each of their past four games.
“That third goal, it really hurt us at the end of the second,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “We had just gotten ourselves back in the game with that power-play goal. Instead of being down 2-1, we’re down 3-1, so that was a pretty good dagger.”
The Penguins acquired Zucker from the Minnesota Wild on Monday for forward Alex Galchenyuk, defensive prospect Calen Addison and a conditional 2020 first-round pick.
Pittsburgh spent the previous five weeks looking to replace All-Star forward Jake Guentzel, who is out until late April after injuring his right shoulder on Dec. 30.
Zucker’s arrival gives the Penguins’ top-six forward group a jolt and additional scoring depth as Pittsburgh prepares for another playoff push.
Zucker made his Penguins’ debut Tuesday against Tampa Bay skating on Crosby’s wing.
“It’s a winning culture and I felt that the day I got here,” Zucker said.
“It was a different feeling in a very great way. I’m just excited to be part of it and hope I can help these guys win some games down the stretch.”
Pittsburgh scored the first goal of the game on the power play at 7:25 of the second period.
Letang beat Price to the glove side with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot. Letang, who continued a four-game point streak, has 28 points in 35 career games against his hometown team.
SHARKS 3, JETS 2
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier scored in an 89-second span in the third period to lift San Jose over Winnipeg.
Marcus Sorensen also scored for the Sharks, who are 4-3-0 in their last seven games.
Aaron Dell made 29 saves for San Jose.
Kyle Connor scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season and Blake Wheeler had a goal and assist for the Jets.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 shots for Winnipeg, which was playing the fourth game of a season-long six-game homestand (2-2-0). The Jets are 4-3-1 in their last eight games.
RANGERS 3, BLUE JACKETS 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Chris Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Alexandar Georgiev had 36 saves and the Rangers topped Columbus.
Kreider scored on a wrist shot from the slot with 3:12 left in the game, just 2 seconds after a Rangers’ power play ended and Columbus’ Jakob Lilja was rushing out of the box. Ryan Strome added an empty-netter with 1:11 left.
Pavel Buchnevich also scored for the Rangers, who have won four straight and are 7-2 in their last nine.
Oliver Bjorkstrand got his team-leading 19th goal and Elvis Merzlikins had 25 saves for injury ravaged Columbus, which is winless in its last four games (0-2-2).
HURRICANES 5, DEVILS 2
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Andrei Svechnikov scored on a perfectly executed rush in the second period to push his point streak to six games and help Carolina beat New Jersey.
Nino Niederreiter and Warren Foegele scored first-period goals for the Hurricanes. Martin Necas and Joel Edmundson added two more in the third period.
Petr Mrazek finished with 35 saves for Carolina after losing his previous three starts.
Mirco Mueller and Joey Anderson scored for the Devils. Louis Domingue had 26 saves in a losing effort.