Lemieux only plays six shifts in unexpected return


BOSTON (AP) -- In a game between struggling teams, the Pittsburgh
Penguins relied on defense and goaltending to snap a three-game
losing streak.

Jan Hrdina scored the game-winning goal with 5:58 remaining and
Sebastien Caron made 31 saves in his first NHL start to lead the
Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night.

"We've been really struggling,'' Penguins defenseman Ian Moran
said. "The last three games we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,
but we responded tonight.''

Hrdina scored his 14th goal when Alexei Kovalev fed him a pass
coming out of the corner that he wristed past goalie Steve Shields.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak against Boston.

"If we got a tie, it would be okay because it's a road game,
but we'll take the win,'' Kovalev said.

Caron was drafted in 1999 and was making his first start after
being called up to replace the injured Johan Hedberg last week.

"I like this building,'' Caron said. "I got drafted here and
now I got my first win here.''

Mario Lemieux returned to the Penguins lineup after missing
three games, all Pittsburgh losses, with a strained groin. He
played six shifts in the first period, but did not return after

Shields made 18 saves for Boston, who has now lost six of seven
and is 3-12-1 in its last 16 games.

"The intensity wasn't there tonight,'' Bruins forward Glen
Murray said. "When you are at home against a struggling team, it
isn't acceptable to not come away with the two points.''

Shean Donovan gave Pittsburgh an early 1-0 lead when he
intercepted a pass from Jonathan Girard at the Boston blue line,
streaked toward the net and beat Shields just inside the left post
at 5:28 of the first period.

The Bruins tied the game at 1 when Mike Knuble took a pass from
Don Sweeney and tipped the puck past Caron with 8:13 left in the
first. It was Knuble's 10th goal of the year, the most he's had
since scoring a career-high 15 for the New York Rangers during the
1998-99 season.

"We are a Jekyll and Hyde team,'' Knuble said. "I don't know
what it will take for us to snap out of this.''

Pittsburgh began the night with the best power-play unit in the
NHL, but has only three goals in its last 38 opportunities during
an eight-game stretch.

Game notes
Boston traded goaltender John Grahame to the Tampa Bay
Lightning for a draft pick and called up Andrew Raycroft from
Providence of the American Hockey league. ... Pittsburgh is 17-54-6
against the Bruins in Boston. ... Bruins captain Joe Thornton
missed his third straight game with an infection in his elbow. ...
Murray had a five-game point streak snapped for Boston. Murray had
five goals and three assists in that span.