SIDNEY CROSBY'S 19th goal of the season broke a tie with just over 6 minutes remaining and the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-1, last night.
Crosby took a centering pass from Pascal Dupuis and beat Toronto's Jonathan Bernier to the stick side to boost his point total to a league-leading 47.
Chris Conner and Brandon Sutter also scored for the Penguins, who were playing without a number of regulars, including forward Evgeni Malkin, who is day-to-day with a left leg injury.
"We keep finding ways," Crosby said. "A lot has to do with the way the [new guys] are playing."
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 shots for Pittsburgh to improve to 27-3 in his past 30 home starts. Pittsburgh has won four straight and nine of 10.
Morgan Rielly scored the first goal of his career for the Maple Leafs. Bernier made 28 saves, but couldn't stop Toronto from losing for the fourth time in its past five games.
The Penguins have a firm grip on the top of the Metropolitan Division despite an injured reserve list that seems to be growing by the day. Kris Letang joined fellow defenseman Brooks Orpik (concussion), Paul Martin (broken leg) and Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) on the IR yesterday with an upper-body injury.
In other games
* At Columbus, Evander Kane returned from an injury to score a goal and add an assist, leading the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.
Kane had missed six games with a lower-body injury.
Mark Scheifele and Bryan Little also had goals for the Jets, with Al Montoya making 22 saves.
* At Ottawa, Cody Ceci scored his first NHL goal in overtime and the Senators beat the St. Louis Blues, 3-2.
Ceci recovered a clearing attempt by the Blues and sent a wrist shot toward the St. Louis goal that beat Brian Elliott at 3:59 of the extra period.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bobby Ryan scored in regulation for the Senators, who picked up points for the fifth time in their past six games.
* At Denver, Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists and Semyon Varlamov had 31 saves in the Colorado Avalanche's 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars.
* Boston's Shawn Thornton has appealed his 15-game suspension for punching and injuring unsuspecting Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik.
As laid out in the collective bargaining agreement, the appeal first goes to Commissioner Gary Bettman. If Bettman upholds the suspension, Thornton and the NHL Players' Association can then elect to appeal to a neutral arbitrator. Orpik was knocked unconscious in the Dec. 7 incident and has not played since because of a concussion.
* Edmonton defenseman Corey Potter was suspended for two games for boarding Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Bonino. The incident in the second period of Anaheim's victory on Sunday. Potter was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind.
* Chicago activated forward Bryan Bickell from IR. Bickell, 27, has been sidelined since Nov. 19 with a lower-body injury.