PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby scored his 13th goal, Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 shots, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Sunday for their ninth straight win.
Joe Vitale added his first goal in more than a year for the Penguins, who have beaten the Bruins five consecutive times.
Tyler Seguin scored his 10th goal for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 16 saves but couldn’t stop the Bruins from losing to Pittsburgh for the second time in less than a week.
The Penguins scored three times in the final 7 minutes Tuesday to steal a 3-2 victory. There were no dramatics necessary this time, as hockey’s hottest team never trailed to remain unbeaten in March.
Crosby nearly netted his most spectacular goal of the season midway through the first period with a breathtaking rush in which he split a pair of defenders and then attempted to slip a shot under Rask while falling to the ice.
Rask stuck out his right pad to make the save, leaving the NHL’s leading scorer to flash a wry grin.
The smile grew wider seconds later, when the Penguins won the ensuing faceoff, and Pascal Dupuis’ crossing pass gave Crosby a wide-open net for the goal at 12:06.
Seguin tied it 4:32 later when a shot from the point deflected off teammate Patrice Bergeron’s skate and trickled right to Seguin, who had no trouble one-timing it past Vokoun.
Pittsburgh, the NHL’s highest scoring team, moved back in front 2-1 when Vitale chipped a rebound over Rask for his first goal since Feb. 26, 2012, against Columbus — a span of 38 games for Vitale.
The lead held even with the Penguins playing the final two periods without defenseman Kris Letang, who never came out of the dressing room after the first intermission with what the team called a lower body injury.
With the league’s top-scoring defenseman out, the Penguins geared down a bit offensively, taking fewer chances than usual. It is a style that has worked over the second half of their winning streak.
Pittsburgh has allowed just five goals in five games while playing more responsibly when the puck is in its end. The Penguins shut out the New York Rangers 3-0 on Saturday behind No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Boston’s best chance to score over the final two periods came on a wraparound attempt by Seguin that slid across the goal mouth. The Bruins would get no closer, with Crosby providing a fitting ending by getting on his stomach to block a centering pass just before time expired.
NOTES: Boston center David Krejci left the game with 5:14 remaining after taking a slap shot off his right knee. ... Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed upper body injury. The Penguins also scratched D Simon Depres and D Robert Bortuzzo. ... The Bruins scratched D Aaron Johnson and LW Lane MacDermid. ... Both teams return to the ice on Tuesday when Pittsburgh hosts Washington and Boston plays at Winnipeg.