ST. LOUIS (AP) — After going four consecutive games without a goal, Sidney Crosby came up big against the St. Louis Blues.
Crosby scored twice and added an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Blues 4-1 Saturday night.
“He’s been fantastic for us,” defenseman Ian Cole said. “He’s a world class player, the best player in the world. This year for us he’s been our heartbeat. He’s been the guy that kind of paces us all year and he showed tonight how great he can be.”
Kris Letang and Justin Schultz also scored for the Penguins who are 20-2-2 when Crosby scores a goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury, making his first appearance since Jan. 14, stopped 22 shots to earn his first victory since winning five straight from Dec. 23 through Jan. 8.
“It’s so satisfying at the end when you get to play and you get to be on the ice with teammates and battle throughout and a get a win,” said Fleury. “That’s always a good feeling.”
Patrik Berglund scored for St. Louis, which handed new coach Mike Yeo his first loss following a win in his debut on Thursday after replacing the fired Ken Hitchcock.
“I know it’s been a long emotional week for everybody,” Yeo said. “We had a good game (on Thursday) and obviously this was not a good game. What I’ve said all along is we need to continue to build our game and that has to be our focus. We’ll take out of this what we didn’t do well and push forward.”
Jake Allen made 27 saves while falling to 18-14-3. He has not won back-to-back games since winning four straight from Nov. 26 through Dec. 6.
Crosby snapped his scoring drought with 4:10 left in the first period on his first-ever goal in St. Louis.
The Blues had a two-man advantage for 1:20 when Letang took a minor penalty for tripping with 35 seconds remaining in the second period with Cole already in the penalty box for interference. However, they were only able to muster one shot on goal.
Letang answered by scoring his fifth of the season immediately after exiting the penalty box. Carter Rowney assisted on the goal for his first career point in his third NHL game.
“That’s a big momentum swing for our team,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It gives our bench a huge boost when our guys go out there and they kill that off the way they did. For me it was a big part of the game.”
Schultz added his ninth goal of the season when he buried a pass from Crosby later in the second period.
Crosby capped off his night with an empty-net goal to add to his NHL lead and give him 30 on the season. He now has six multi-goal games this season.
Berglund scored his 12th midway through the third to deny Fleury his first shutout against the Blues. St. Louis has not won three straight at home since Nov. 26 through Dec. 1.
“It’s something we’ve got to build and start feeling good in here,” said Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz. “We talked about that. We know it’s not going to turn around right away.”
NOTES: Pittsburgh is now 21-0-0 when leading after two periods. … Crosby has not gone without a point in consecutive games since Feb. 24-27, 2016. … Blues LW Robby Fabbri left the game with a lower-body injury 8:42 into the first period and did not return.
Penguins: Host Calgary on Tuesday night.
Blues: At Philadelphia on Monday night to start a four-game road trip.