PITTSBURGH (AP) — Blake Comeau and Kris Letang scored early in the first period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday night.
Rob Klinkhammer also scored to help the Penguins beat the Flames for the eighth straight time. Pittsburgh’s last loss to Calgary was on Dec. 3, 2005.
Johnny Gaudreau had the only goal for the Flames, who have lost four in a row.
The Penguins played without defending NHL scoring champion Sidney Crosby, who also will miss Saturday’s game at Columbus while he awaits results from medical tests for an illness that caused the right side of his face to swell. Though there have been more than a dozen cases of mumps around the NHL, Crosby doesn’t believe he has that illness.
Crosby missed Thursday’s practice because he was wasn’t feeling well. He returned for Pittsburgh’s game-day skate and afterward declared himself fine for the game against the Flames, noting that he would not be at the arena if he had mumps.
However, the swelling was pronounced. Reports and images of the swelling caused a widespread Internet buzz, and by late afternoon the Penguins announced his two-game absence based, they said, on the recommendation of medical specialists.
“There is no indication at this time that this is the mumps, but we are going to hold him out as a precaution,” General Manager Jim Rutherford said in a release. “We’ll have additional test results in a few days.”
Crosby is among the league leaders with 35 points and had not previously missed a game.
The Penguins, who had not played since Monday, looked rested and energetic early.
Comeau, on a 2-on-1 break with Jayson Megna, gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead 48 seconds into the game with a shot that sailed over the blocker of Calgary goalie Jonas Hiller.
Letang, who had missed the previous five games because of a groin injury, tipped in a shot from the right point by Simon Despres at 4:43 of the period during a 4-on-4 play for a 2-0 Penguins lead.
The Flames closed to 2-1 with 7:45 left in the opening period when Gaudreau jumped on the long rebound of a shot by Markus Gralund and put the puck in a near-open net with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury caught near the right post.
Klinkhammer then scored off a pass from Steve Downie with 2:47 left in the third period.
NOTES: In addition to Letang, Pittsburgh RW Patric Hornqvist returned after missing two games because of an unspecified injury. … C Evgeni Malkin had two assists, giving him at least one point in 23 of the Penguins’ 28 games. … Gaudreau, the Hobey Baker Award winner last season, helped Boston College win the Three Rivers Classic last December at Consol Energy Center. … Calgary D Deryk Engelland played against his former club for the first time.
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