December 28, 2018 / 3:04 AM / 5 months ago

Kessel, Brassard each net pair as Penguins stay hot

EditorsNote: fixes typo in ninth graph

Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard each scored twice Thursday to boost the Pittsburgh Penguins to their fourth straight win, 5-2 over the visiting Detroit Red Wings.

Kessel also got an assist. Patric Hornqvist also scored, and Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had two assists for the Pittsburgh, which has won six of its past seven.

Matt Murray made 27 saves for Pittsburgh and is 4-0 since returning from a lower-body injury.

Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou scored for Detroit, which is 1-5-2 in its past eight games.

Jimmy Howard stopped 35 Pittsburgh shots.

The Red Wings have allowed the first goal 24 times, but Larkin bucked that trend when he gave them a 1-0 lead at 11:49 of the first period.

Detroit’s leading scorer picked up his 16th goal when he lofted a shot from the lower part of the left circle that went over the near shoulder of Murray, who was screened by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader. It gave Larkin a 12-game point streak, the longest active such streak in the NHL.

Kessel got his first at 7:12 of the second to tie it. He moved in from the right point, assisted when Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson lost an edge, and slipped a backhander under Howard’s pads.

Brassard gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead 1:14 later when he drove toward the net and a pass from Kessel deflected in off the toe of his skate.

With 1:02 left in the second, Kessel struck again. He snapped a shot from the top of the slot past Howard’s glove to make it 3-1 with his 16th goal.

Athanasiou closed it to 3-2 at 4:45 of the third on a breakaway after Malkin’s turnover at the far blue line.

Just 1:10 later, Hornqvist restored the two-goal lead, 4-2, when he deflected a Jack Johnson pass past Howard.

Brassard added an empty-netter with 2:25 left.

Penguins top-line winger Jake Guentzel, who earlier in the day signed a five-year, $30 million contract that kicks in next season, was held without a point for just the fourth time in 16 games.

—Field Level Media

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