Pengiuns Ice Leafs

Director/writer Jim Sheridan and actress Anjelica Huston pose together at the U.S.-Ireland Alliance "Oscar Wilde: Honoring Irish Writing in Film" event held at the Ebell Club of Los Angeles on March 2, 2006.
GETTY IMAGES/Frazer Harrison

The Pittsburgh Penguins used two goaltenders and one key goal from a still-not-healthy Jaromir Jagr to extend their home winning streak.

Jagr, still bothered by a sore thigh muscle, scored his first power-play goal this season and the Penguins staged an in-game meeting before holding off the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 Tuesday night.

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  • "We had a meeting after the first period because there was something missing," Jagr said. "We didn't have the hunger we needed to win. After that, I thought we played a great first 10 minutes in the next period."

    The Penguins were held to two shots in a lifeless first period and were outshot 30-18, but won their fourth in a row at home.

    Jagr, not certain of playing until game time, put Alexei Kovalev's across-the-crease pass by Curtis Joseph at 4:29 of the second for the go-ahead goal in a game the Penguins were forced to change goaltenders.

    Jagr still isn't 100 percent and it showed in his skating but he converted the one good scoring opportunity he had.

    "He wasn't skating, but when he gets the puck on his stick, bing, the puck's in the net," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "Even when he's halfway there, he's one of the best."

    Jagr's goal was his 15th and his first in five games since Nov. 12 in Detroit, and was his first point since Nov. 13 against Nashville. The NHL's leading scorer played only 3@1/2 minutes of a 3-2 victory over Buffalo on Nov. 16, then played 29 ineffective minutes two nights later at Tampa Bay before sitting out Saturday's overtime loss at Florida.

    Jagr's thigh felt much better after he returned to Pittsburgh on Friday and had three acupucture treatments. He also had acupuncture last spring when a groin injury forced him to miss four games of a first-round playoff series against New Jersey.

    "I was scared in the first period because I felt good in Tampa Bay and then I hurt it again," Jagr said. "I was taking it easy, and it felt better as the game went along. I was glad to get through the game."

    Jagr has figured in 10 of the Penguins' 11 power-play goals this season, but his other nine points were assists.

    Penguins goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin was lifted at the start of third period after stopping all 19 shots he faced. His left arm went numb shortly immediately after Toronto defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev crashed into the net late in the second period.

    The Penguins' Matthew Barnaby was called for tripping, but the Penguins killed off the first 50 seconds of the penalty to end the second period and the final 1:10 after Peter Skudra replaced Aubin.

    Aubin, who has emerged as the starter with the injured Tom Barrasso still out, has stopped 125 of 133 shots in his last five games. Skudra, who hadn't played losing 2-1 to Ottawa on Nov. 4, stopped 10 of 11 shots despite yielding Mats Sundin's goal at 14:09.

    Andrew Ference's second goal of the season put Pittsburgh up 2-0 less than three minutes before Sundin scored. German Titov scored into an empty net at 19:38 to restore Pittsburgh's two-goal lead.

    Ference's goal from between the hash marks off Kip Miller's feed came at 11:41 and was a big lift to Skudra, who normally doesn't play especially well in relief roles.

    Sundin scored his eighth by trickling a shot by Skudra from the left side of the net, but it didn't prevent Toronto from losing its fifth game against two ties in its last nine.

    "I thought we played one of our best games in the past couple of weeks," Sundin said. "We carried most of the play and some of their top guns had very quiet nights. We didn't play that bad a game, so it's a little frustrating to feel that way and come out with a loss."

    The Maple Leafs played in Pittsburgh for the first time since eliminating the Penguins in their second-round playoff series last spring.

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