SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence got the last laugh, and it had nothing to do with his new contract. . San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer and Pence held an intense, 15-minute meeting after Friday nights game to work out details of a $90 million, five-year contract. "I told him how much I appreciated winning the Willie Mac award," said Pence, with a sly grin. Pence and the Giants finalized the contract on Sunday, a deal that keeps the outfielder off the free-agent market. The announcement was made at a news conference before the season finale against San Diego, the Giants final game as defending World Series champions. The Giants hope it sends fans a message that the team will work to pursue its players who are eligible for free agency, a group that includes Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez. "The first priority is the core of our club," assistant general manager Bobby Evans said. "Thats the reason Hunter Pence is signed." Pence gets $15 million next year, $18 million in 2015 and $19 million in each of the following three seasons. He was given a standing ovation by fans when he came out to stretch before the game and again when he batted in the first inning. "I realized how intelligent this organization is," Pence said. "They want to win. Im extremely happy." Pence began the day with a .282 average, a career-best 27 homers and 96 RBIs. He became the first Giants player to appear in every regular-season game since Alvin Dark played in 154 in 1954. "Im motivated to become a better ballplayer," said Pence, who asked for and received a full a no-trade provision. "Im looking forward to the next five years and Im going to give it all Ive got." The two-time All-Star was acquired from Philadelphia in July last year and was credited with being instrumental in San Franciscos second title in three years. "Hes a true leader and a role model for the organization," Baer said. "Its a credit to how he holds himself on and off the field." Pence became the second-highest-paid Giants position player behind catcher Buster Posey, who has a $167 million, nine-year contract. "This is a class organization," outfielder Angel Pagan said. "They take a lot of pride in winning. Thats what were here for. Im sure thats why Hunter wanted to stay here." Pence was an immediate hit when he joined the Giants last year, despite his offensive struggles early. "I dont know how we could replace what Hunter does," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Theres no drama with this guy. He just wants to play baseball." . - Jerome Verrier scored the winner 8:24 into overtime and Louis-Phillip Guindon stopped 46 shots as the Drummondville Voltigeurs edged the host Val-dOr Foreurs 4-3 on Friday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff action. . Howard had 17 points and a career-high-tying 26 rebounds in his Houston debut, James Harden added 21 points and the Rockets cruised to a 96-83 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wanted to send a message to his team, putting Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin exclusively on the same line. Consider it received. Attacking on offence early and often, the Penguins topped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on Saturday night as Jussi Jokinen scored the go-ahead goal in the third period to help give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference playoff series. Pittsburgh peppered Sergei Bobrovsky with 50 shots on goal, keeping the Blue Jackets goalie busy all night. "We competed hard," Crosby said. "We played desperate and really aggressive. Thats the game we have to play. Its not always going to result in 50 shots, but its our style of play." Chris Kunitz had a power-play goal and Kris Letang scored into an empty net for Pittsburgh, which has the upstart Blue Jackets on the verge of elimination with an opportunity to close out the series Monday during Game 6 in Columbus. "Their coach challenged them and they responded," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "Now, we have to do the same thing on Monday." It hasnt been easy for the Penguins, a team considered by many a Stanley Cup contender. Columbus, which began the series searching for its first playoff win in franchise history, twice rallied to stun the heavily favoured Penguins and outshot Pittsburgh three of the previous four games this series. Boone Jenner scored the lone goal for Columbus, which played its first Game 5 in franchise history. "I dont think anybody in this room would say theyre uncomfortable going into the next game," Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen said. "Like weve been saying, all the guys, we believe we can get this done." Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recovered from a game-changing gaffe in Game 4 for the victory on Saturday, making 23 saves. Fleury is 4-1 in his last five games after a playoff overtime loss. "He was solid," Crosby said. "He showed his experience tonight." Bobrovsky stopped 48 shots for the Blue Jackets. "They were going to the net hard and obviously it was something they talked about, to make it hard on Bobrovsky," Richards said. "Its how they wanted to play the game." Crosby and Malkin, despite playing on the same line and combining for eight shots, still havent scored through five playoff games, but the message was sent. "I think we went into the game with a good idea that we were going to see that," Bylsma said. "With the matchup, we were able to give those guys a good opportunity to play together and be a force." Crosby, who led the league in scoriing with 104 points, hasnt scored in his last 10 playoff games overall, while Malkin has gone nine without a goal. . Richards hopes to extend the goal-less drought another game. "I have the last change, so its something I can possibly control a little bit better," Richards said. "But it makes for something different when you see (Crosby) and (Malkin) on the same line." The teams were tied at 1 entering the third, but Jokinen touched a backhand rebound past Bobrovsky along the far post 6:16 into the period. Letang scored an empty-netter with 1:01 to play to seal it. A 3-1 lead appeared to be a kiss of death for the team leading in the first four games of the series. Not on Saturday. Both sides endured wild momentum swings through the first four games, all decided by a 4-3 margin where the winning team rallied from a 3-1 deficit every time for the first time in league history. The Penguins twice had an opportunity to take a two-game lead in the series, while Columbus put Pittsburgh in a two-goal hole two times, only to come up short. The Penguins were seconds away from taking a 3-1 lead during the best-of-seven series in Game 5 when Fleury misplayed a puck behind the net, leading to Brandon Dubinskys tying goal that forced overtime and Nick Folignos innocent-looking wrist shot from the blue line that evaded Fleury and evened the series. Fleury, who was benched during Pittsburghs run to the conference finals last year, responded Saturday. "I think dealing with the pressure that he has, he was able to turn the page pretty quickly," Crosby said. "Thats what he needs to do, especially in the playoffs." Jenner helped the Blue Jackets score first Saturday with a power-play goal midway through the opening period. Fleury sprawled to cover a rebound at the top of the crease, but the puck came loose and Jenner jammed a shot home along the near post. Kunitz tied it with a second-period power-play goal, corralling a bouncing rebound in front of the net and backhanding it past Bobrovsky. Jokinens goal in the third put the Blue Jackets on the brink. "I expect nothing other than what theyve done all year, to respond," Richards said. NOTES: The NHL announced a 7 p.m. start for Game 6 in Columbus. ... Penguins D Brooks Orpik missed the game with an undisclosed injury. ... Penguins F Brian Gibbons (undisclosed) was out for a third straight game. ... Marcel Goc returned to the lineup for Pittsburgh after missing four games with a foot injury. ... Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin (lower body) played after missing two games, while D Ryan Murray (lower body), who missed Game 4, was also back in the lineup. ' ' '