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Crosby collects 4 points as Penguins hold off rival Philadelphia in wild 7-6 win

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Drew O'Connor and Rickard Rakell scored less than two minutes apart in the third period to break open a tie game and the Pittsburgh Penguins held off the Philadelphia Flyers 7-6 on Sunday.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists to give him 129 points (55 goals, 74 assists) in 87 regular season games against the Flyers, the most by any opponent against Philadelphia. Bryan Rust had two goals and an assist for the Penguins before exiting in the third period with an injury.

Emil Bemstrom, acquired in a trade with Columbus on Thursday, picked up a goal in his first game with the Penguins. Kris Letang added an insurance goal late after Philadelphia’s Cam York trimmed Pittsburgh’s lead to one. Tristan Jarry was shaky at times but earned the win after stopped 16 of the 22 shots he faced.

The Penguins let a two-goal lead get away late in the second period before O'Connor beat Cal Petersen 6:41 into the third and Rakell followed 1:57 later to help give the Penguins a little momentum heading into a four-game road trip that could define their season.

Travis Sanheim and Tyson Foerster had two goals each for Philadelphia. Scott Laughton added his eighth on the Flyers' NHL-leading 14th shorthanded goal of the season. Petersen, making just his fourth start of the season, struggled while finishing with 25 saves.

The Flyers dropped back to back games over the weekend while playing without leading scorer Travis Konecny, who is out with an injury.

The Penguins have won two straight to stay on the fringe of the Eastern Conference playoff race with the trade deadline approaching. Perhaps the most promising sign for Pittsburgh is the uptick in scoring of late. The NHL's 23rd-ranked offense has scored at least four goals in three straight games for just the third time this season.

The offense was needed on an afternoon when goals on both sides were easy to come by.

Rust and Bemstrom scored 2:23 apart in the second period to put the Penguins up 4-2 only to have Philadelphia tie it up before the end of the frame.

Sanheim blasted a shot from the point by Jarry 16:33 into the second, bringing the Flyers within one, and Laughton tied it just over a minute later with a shorthanded goal when he flipped the puck into an open net following some inattentive defense by Erik Karlsson, who kept his back to Laughton as Noah Cates' wraparound attempt popped in front of the crease.

O'Connor's career-high ninth goal put Pittsburgh back in front and Rakell's first goal since Jan. 8 gave the Penguins welcome breathing room.

UP NEXT

Flyers: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Penguins: Begin a trip out west on Tuesday in Vancouver.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

Will Graves, The Associated Press