Padding all the Leads. Penguins 4, Flames 3

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Crosby potted a goal and added two assists to lead the Pens to a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

James Neal had two points, Sidney Crosby recorded a goal and two assists and the Penguins hung on to beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

Crosby's afternoon included this blistering slapshot goal in the second period that found the corner above Calgary netminder Karri Ramo's shoulder. More impressive, though, was the play Crosby made to receive the pass and spring himself open for the shot.

Crosby's three-point night extended his personal scoring streak to ten games and his NHL scoring lead (20-34-54) to six points over Chicago's Patrick Kane.

The win was the seventh in a row for Pittsburgh, who moved to back within a point of Chicago for first place in the NHL and have lost just once in the month of December.

They now lead the Metropolitan Division by 14 points. No other NHL division leader has a gap of more than six.

Pascal Dupuis and Harry Zolnierczyk also scored for the Penguins, the latter potting his first goal with the franchise after signing in Pittsburgh over the offseason.

The Pens fielded the same lineup as in Thursday night's tilt against the Minnesota Wild, still missing 12 regulars even after the return of James Neal. They've been without their top-four defensemen for over a week now, but have still managed to stretch their division and Eastern Conference leads.

Although Tanner Glass and Rob Scuderi have begun practicing and are reportedly close to returning, neither played Saturday.

Pittsburgh's young defense corps has been excellent in the absence of its top-four. Olli Maatta and Matt Niskanen have stabilized the group as a makeshift top pairing, and kept the ship afloat once again on Saturday.

Saturday's win marked the tenth home win in a row for the Penguins, who have not trailed in a game at Consol Energy Center in almost a month.

Calgary, with the second-fewest points in the West and in the midst of a rebuilding season, lost its fourth in a row. Mike Cammalleri, Paul Byron and Jiri Hudler scored for the Flames in the loss.

Pittsburgh will play its final game before Christmas on Monday in Ottawa. The Penguins and Senators have yet to meet since their second-round playoff meeting last spring, in which the Penguins dispatched Ottawa in five games.

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