Guentzel’s power-play goal lifts Penguins past Predators 6-4

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Pittsburgh Penguins’ Bryan Rust (17) celebrates with Evgeni Malkin (71) after scoring against the Nashville Predators during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Pittsburgh. Nashville Predators’ Ryan Johansen skates by at left.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jake Guentzel’s power-play goal with 1:03 remaining helped the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 6-4 on Saturday night.

Bryan Rust’s initial point shot missed the net. Evgeni Malkin gathered the puck behind the net and gave it to Guentzel, who tucked it inside the left post for the winning goal.

Rust scored twice, including an empty-netter, and added two assists as Pittsburgh won for the ninth time in 11 games. Alex Galchenyuk and Kris Letang scored power-play goals, while Dominik Kahun also scored for Pittsburgh, which has points in 13 of its last 16 against Nashville dating back to Oct. 21, 2010.

Evgeni Malkin continued a five-game point streak with three assists and Matt Murray stopped 44 shots to win for the second time in nine starts. It was his first win since Dec. 7 at Detroit and his first home win since Nov. 9 against Chicago.

Mikael Granlund’s 100th career goal – and second of the game – at 8:56 of the third tied the score at 4-4 as Nashville rallied from a pair of three-goal deficits.

Viktor Arvidsson got his third goal in as many games, while Craig Smith also scored for the Predators, who lost their second straight after earning points in their previous five games.

Roman Josi established a career-high seven-game point streak with two assists.

Pittsburgh and Nashville played the second straight of a home-and-home, back-to-back. The Penguins chased a Predators goaltender in the first period for the second straight night, this time with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game.

A day earlier, Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. On Saturday, Juuse Saros gave up three goals on eight shots. Rinne stopped 25 of 27 shots in relief.

Pittsburgh scored twice in the first 1:05 of the game. Rust opened the scoring 32 seconds in with his 15th of the season and sixth goal in his last seven games. Kahun scored his ninth of the season just 33 seconds later on a behind-the-net feed from Galchenyuk.

Letang scored a power-play goal, a slap shot from the right point at 9:04 of the first to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead.

Arvidsson got Nashville on the board with his ninth of the year, a power-play goal at 4:07 of the second period. But Galchenyuk answered with his second goal in two games, a power-play score at 8:02, as Pittsburgh regained its three-goal lead.

Smith and Granlund scored goals in the final 3:57 of the second period to make it a 4-3 game entering the third.

NOTES: F Patric Hornqvist returned to the lineup for Pittsburgh after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. … Letang’s 40th career power-play goal tied Paul Coffey for most by a Penguins defenseman. … Guentzel continued a five-game home point streak with his 100th career assist. … D Justin Schultz missed his fourth game for Pittsburgh with a lower-body injury. … Nashville F Filip Forsberg has a point in 21 of 32 games, including seven of his last 11. … The Predators placed C Colton Sissons on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. … Predators D Dan Hamhuis also missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. … D Jarred Tinordi made his debut for the Predators.

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