Break, not barrier: Rested Penguins crush Bolts


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Ian Cole reaches for a loose puck to the left of Marc-André Fleury. — GETTY

After moving on from a scintillating December, the Penguins kept up the pace Sunday evening at PPG Paints Arena, smoking the Lightning, 6-2, in their return from an unprecedented off week.

Now 18-2-2 within city limits -- a franchise record for the first 22 home games of a season -- the Penguins have also earned points in 12 consecutive games (11-0-1) at PPG Paints Arena. They did it despite allowing the first goal, giving them a 13-4-2 record when falling behind 1-0.

"We seemed to settle in a bit," said Sidney Crosby, who assisted on two goals to take over second place in the NHL scoring race. "We hadn't played in a while, so there was some rust. I think about halfway through that first, we were able to generate some chances and built off that throughout the game."

Six Penguins scored goals and 12 recorded at least a point as the NHL's highest-scoring offense during a 12-1-2 December resumed its production. Conor Sheary had a goal and an assist, Matt Cullen set up a pair, and Marc-André Fleury stopped 28 shots as the Penguins (26-8-5, 57 points) stayed within three points of Columbus for the league's overall lead. The Lightning, meanwhile, have lost four in a row.

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