Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby played for the first time since another bout with concussion symptoms forced him to the sideline Dec. 5. He had an assist as the Penguins stretched their winning streak to 10 by beating the host New York Rangers 5-2.

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Crosby returns, helps Penguins beat Rangers 5-2 in New York

Sidney Crosby’s return after three months of inactivity didn’t hurt the chemistry of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who surged closer to the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers.

Crosby played for the first time since another bout with concussion symptoms forced him to the sideline Dec. 5. The captain got on the score sheet Thursday night with an assist as the Penguins stretched their winning streak to 10 by beating the host Rangers 5-2 at Madison Square Garden.

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It marked the first time this season New York allowed five goals. The Rangers lead Pittsburgh by four points in the East and have 12 games left, compared with 13 for the Penguins.

After missing 40 games during his latest layoff, Crosby played on a third line with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. Cooke scored twice, Kennedy had two assists and league points leader Evgeni Malkin added a goal for the Penguins, who haven’t lost since Feb. 19 in Buffalo.

“He draws so much attention when he is on the ice,” Cooke said of Crosby. “People are worried about how good he is. That makes the players on the ice with him that much better.”

Crosby assisted on Chris Kunitz’s goal that made the score 4-2 at 3:01 of the third period.


Vonn wins her 4th Super-G title

Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., won her fourth World Cup super-giant-slalom title by finishing sixth in the discipline’s final race of the season in Schladming, Austria. It was Vonn’s 16th career crystal globe.

Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany won in 1 minute, 24.54 seconds and Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley, Calif., was second in 1:24.72.

Meanwhile, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won a World Cup Super-G title for a third time even though he finished 16th.

World champion Christof Innerhofer of Italy won the race.


No. 1 Djokovic gets to semifinals

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. Djokovic’s next opponent is American John Isner, who beat Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia earned a spot in the women’s semis with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marion Bartoli of France.

Ivanovic will play Maria Sharapova, a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 winner over fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.

College football

Ex-Fiesta COO pleads guilty

The former chief operating officer of the Fiesta Bowl pleaded guilty to a felony federal conspiracy charge for her role in a fraudulent campaign-contribution scheme.

Natalie Wisneski entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Phoenix and could face up to a year in prison when she is sentenced in June. She also could receive probation.

Wisneski must cooperate with federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service in continuing investigations into the bowl scandal.

Wisneski’s ex-boss, former Fiesta Bowl chief John Junker, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the scheme earlier this week.

USC transfer can play for Irish

Running back Amir Carlisle, who transferred from USC to Notre Dame, will be eligible to play for the Fighting Irish this year. He played in eight games as a freshman for USC last season while battling injuries.

Auto racing

F1 driver sounds optimistic

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso says the team still expects to battle for the Formula One title this season despite acknowledging the scarlet cars are likely to struggle in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

Alonso said this year’s car is not a finished product heading into Friday’s first practice session and that the team is behind the likes of Red Bull and McLaren in development.

“Maybe we are not as quick as other teams in this race, but we want to be champions in November,” Alonso said.


• Veteran Olympic official Mario Vazquez Rana, 79, of Mexico resigned all of his positions, including a seat on the IOC executive board. Vazquez Rana will relinquish control of the 204-member Association of National Olympic Committees, which he has led since founding it in 1979.

• North Dakota’s Supreme Court grilled the state Board of Higher Education’s lawyer, Douglas Bahr, about the board’s tardiness in challenging a law that requires the University of North Dakota’s sports teams to carry the Fighting Sioux nickname.

State lawmakers first approved the pro-nickname law in March 2011. It wasn’t until last month, after the law was repealed and then revived in a referendum campaign, the education board sued to block the law, Justice Daniel Crothers said.

NCAA officials have told UND that as long as the nickname and logo are kept, the Grand Forks school can’t host NCAA postseason tournaments. Its teams, cheerleaders and band members may not wear the nickname and logo on uniforms during postseason play.

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