Penguins top Wild to extend winning streak to six

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PITTSBURGH — Chris Kunitz scored his 19th goal, Sidney Crosby had two assists and the Pittsburgh Penguins jumped out to a four-goal lead before beating the Minnesota Wild 5-2 Thursday night for their season-high sixth consecutive victory.

Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz (left) celebrates a second-period goal with Sidney Crosby, who assisted on the goal. Crosby had two assists in the Penguins' 5-2 win over Minnesota.  GENE J. PUSKAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
GENE J. PUSKAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz (left) celebrates a second-period goal with Sidney Crosby, who assisted on the goal. Crosby had two assists in the Penguins' 5-2 win over Minnesota.

Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta sealed the Penguins’ win when he scored on a third-period penalty shot. Pascal Dupuis and Brandon Sutter each scored for the second consecutive game, and defenseman Matt Niskanen also tallied for Pittsburgh, which has won 11 of 12 overall and a nine straight home game.

Crosby extended his season-best point streak to nine games. He leads the league with 51 points.

Jason Pominville netted his team-high 16th goal and Dany Heatley scored 3:13 into the third period for the Wild, turning a three-goal deficit into a 4-2 game.

The Wild had an opportunity to make it a one-goal game shortly after with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:46, but the Penguins killed both penalties.

Matta was awarded a penalty shot after he was hauled down by Jonas Brodin on a breakaway.

The Wild played their first game without starting goalie Josh Harding, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. It’s a move that allows Harding time to make adjustments to medication for his multiple sclerosis. Harding, expected to return Dec. 27 at Winnipeg, led the league in goals-against average and ranked second in save percentage entering Thursday.

BLUES: Forward Alexander Steen has agreed to terms on a three-year, $17.4 million contract extension.

The extension also includes a no-trade clause, which takes effect immediately. Steen will make salaries of $5.1 million, $5.8 million and $6.5 million, according to his agent.

Steen is having the best season of his career with 22 goals and 36 points in 33 games.

KINGS: Forward Colin Fraser has been activated after a three-game absence with an apparent concussion.

The team reassigned forward Linden Vey to their AHL affiliate in Manchester.

Fraser has one point in 17 games for the Kings this season, but has been out for a week after getting hit by Toronto’s Frazer McLaren on Dec. 11. The two-time Stanley Cup champion returned to practice earlier this week.

SABRES: Acquired left wing Linus Omark from the Edmonton Oilers for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft.

Omark, a fourth-round selection by Edmonton in the 2007 draft, has eight goals and 22 assists in 66 NHL games.

On Wednesday, Omark told Swedish newspaper The Norrbotten Courier that he asked Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish to trade him.

Omark has played in only one game this season with the Oilers. He leads their Oklahoma City AHL affiliate with 29 points in 29 games.

COYOTES: Recalled defenseman Rostislav Klesla from their AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine.

Once one of Phoenix’s top defensemen, Klesla was sent down last month after struggling at the start of the season and clearing waivers. He had a goal and two assists in 15 games with the Coyotes after missing three games due to a concussion suffered in preseason.

FLAMES: Signed defenseman Keegan Kanzig to a three-year entry-level contract.

Kanzig was Calgary’s third-round pick, 67th overall, in the 2013 draft.

He is in his third season with the Victoria Royals, of the Western Hockey League. In 30 games this season, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Kanzig has two goals and two assists, and has accumulated 57 penalty minutes.


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