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Stars Kessel, Crosby spark surging Penguins past Sabres


With Sidney Crosby at the very top of his game, the Pittsburgh Penguins are peaking at the right time.

Crosby contributed two assists and Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist to lead the Penguins to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. Pittsburgh had three goals on the power play, dominating with the man advantage.

Brian Dumoulin, Patric Hornqvist, Nick Bjugstad and Jake Guentzel also scored for the Penguins, who have won six of seven and sit third in the Metropolitan Division.

Crosby helped open the scoring with a highlight-reel pass 6:40 into the second period. With Guentzel stationed in front of the Buffalo net, Guentzel fed Crosby inside the right circle. Crosby then fired cross-ice to Kessel inside the left circle, and he had an open net for his 24th goal of the season.

Crosby has 19 points in his last 10 games and he continued his dominant play against the Sabres. For his career, the star center has 61 points (20 goals, 41 assists) in 39 games versus Buffalo.

“I find myself saying the same thing — he’s just such a great player, he’s such an accomplished player,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “This is his favorite time of year and he’s shown an ability to elevate his game when the stakes are the highest, and he plays his best on the biggest stage and he’s done it time and time again. “

Casey DeSmith, making his first start since Feb. 21, made 26 saves for his fourth career shutout.

Lightning 5, Red Wings 4

In Detroit, Steven Stamkos tied Vincent Lecavalier for Tampa Bay’s career lead in goals, Nikita Kucherov scored twice in the third period and the Lightning rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat the Red Wings.

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Senators 2, Blues 0

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Predators 3, Kings 1