Thrashers vs. Rangers
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta
On TV: SportSouth
PITTSBURGH — Jordan Staal scored twice, Ruslan Fedotenko ended Pittsburgh's power-play slump, and the Penguins halted a season-worst, five-game losing streak, beating Atlanta 5-2 on Tuesday night for the Thrashers' ninth consecutive loss.
Jim Slater scored his second and third goals of the season about 13 minutes apart in the second period, but Atlanta still ended an 0-5-2 road trip. The Thrashers, who last won on Dec. 17, are 0-6-3 during their longest losing streak since they lost nine in a row in October 2002.
When they're slumping, the Penguins frequently look to Atlanta to help. Pittsburgh stopped a five-game slide a year ago by beating the Thrashers 3-1. The Penguins have won seven straight against Atlanta.
The Penguins were 0-for-13 on the power play over five games until Fedotenko made it 3-1 at 14:41 of the second with his eighth goal. Fedotenko skated down the right wing boards, fed the puck to Staal, then took the giveback pass to beat Ondrej Pavelec for Pittsburgh's third goal of the period.
Staal and Kris Letang also scored in the second for the Penguins, who haven't lost as many as six in a row since going 0-5-2 midway through captain Sidney Crosby's rookie season in 2006.
Staal put Pittsburgh up 2-1 about 8 minutes into the period when he carried the puck into the Thrashers' zone, lost it briefly, only to have linemate Tyler Kennedy regain control and set him up at the side of the net.
Slater had one goal in 20 games before getting both Atlanta goals. He cut the Penguins' lead to 3-2 when he stole Crosby's backhand pass from the corner and beat goalie Brent Johnson from the slot at 16:14 of the second, but the Penguins scored the only two goals of the third.
Johnson, making 31 saves during his 11th start, was sharp early as Atlanta took 14 of the first 17 shots yet still couldn't score in the opening period. Johnson also got an assist on Staal's second of the night and 13th of the season late in the game.
Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins' slumping star, was held without a goal for the sixth consecutive game, but set up Luca Caputi's first of the season in the third period by skating around two defenders and getting off a shot. Pavelec made the initial save but Caputi, recalled from the minors earlier in the day, put in the rebound.
NOTES: Penguins assistant coach Mike Yeo was released from a Florida hospital on Tuesday night and expects to return to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. He became ill with an undisclosed problem following a game at Tampa Bay on Saturday. ... Penguins F Chris Kunitz (abdominal muscle) will undergo surgery Wednesday and is expected to be out four to six weeks. Caputi was called up to replace him. ... Pittsburgh was outscored 19-9 during its losing streak. ... The Penguins are 17-2 when they score a power-play goal. ... The Thrashers are 18-18-6 after starting 14-7-3.