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Sidney Crosby had two goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins scored the final five goals in a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday for their third consecutive win since the Olympic break ended.

Crosby scored the Penguins' fourth and fifth goals — with 3:13 to play in the second and 1:35 into the third — to take the NHL lead with 44 on the season. He had been tied with the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, who was playing later against the New York Rangers.

Alexei Ponikarovsky scored in his Penguins debut, and Jordan Staal, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis also had goals.

"The last game it was a matter of us playing really well and wearing the other team down," Crosby said.

"Today was just a matter of trying to regroup and respond after a not-so-good first half [of the game]. They were kind of different scenarios, but we came out in the second half, especially today, and tried to be a lot better. We got rewarded with some goals for it."

Mike Ribeiro and Brandon Segal each had a goal and an assist, and Loui Eriksson scored his 25th goal for Dallas, which has lost three straight since the NHL resumed play.

Scoring his first goal since his overtime winner for Canada against the U.S. in the Olympic gold-medal game on Sunday, Crosby gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead by banking a shot off Stars defenceman Trevor Daley from behind the goal-line and with the net to his left.

Crosby made it 5-3 with a short-handed goal at 1:35 in the third, 38 seconds after the Penguins killed the remainder of a 5-on-3 Dallas power play. It was Crosby's second career short-handed goal, the first coming on Oct. 23 of this season.

Crosby's goals were the third and fourth of five successive by the Penguins that followed three straight Stars goals that had given Dallas a 3-1 lead.

"Having a 3-1 lead, that looked like a big turnaround," Modano said. "We had a good start to the second, and then all of a sudden the bottom fell out.

"Every mistake we seem to make now just ends up in our net, so it's magnified 1,000 times."

20th goal for ex-Leaf

Ponikarovsky, who was traded from Toronto for prospect Luca Caputi and defenceman Martin Skoula on Tuesday night, scored his 20th of the season while on the power play with 4:47 to play, roofing a rebound over Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Lehtonen was making his first start for the Stars since being acquired in a trade with Atlanta on Feb. 9. A former No. 2 overall draft pick of the Thrashers, he made his Dallas debut in relief Thursday night.

Staal opened the scoring against him at 2:11 into the contest on a partial breakaway set up by Matt Cooke for Cooke's second assist in the past 21 games.

But Ribeiro tied it 12:05 into the game with his 15th and Segal made it 2-1 1:29 into the second, his third goal of the season and second in three games with Dallas.

Eriksson made it 3-1 just 29 seconds later, his second straight game with a goal.

But 1:33 after that, Kunitz pulled the Penguins back to within one with his 10th goal, set up by Crosby, and Dupuis tied it at 9:10 in the period off a pass from Kris Letang for his 15th of the season and second in three games.