Tony McKegney scored his 20th goal for the game-winner and assisted on an earlier goal in the victory over Pittsburgh at Bloomington, Minn. The North Stars ended a five-game winless run.
Moe Mantha cut Minnesota's lead to 3-2 at 3:20 of the third period with a 30-foot shot that beat goalie Roland Melanson on his stick side.
McKegney scored the game winner at 9:19, taking Dennis Maruk's rebound and flipping it into the right corner from 15 feet past goalie Roberto Romano for a 4-2 advantage.
The Penguins rallied on Doug Shedden's goal at 11:43 for the final margin.
In the second period, the North Stars outshot the Penguins, 21-6, and opened a 3-1 lead. Brian Lawton, called up from AHL Springfield for the game, scored at 17:27 as he swiped at linemate Dirk Graham's right wing pass, knocking it into the net while being checked. Maruk made it 3-1 just 39 seconds later, scooping McKegney's pass from the near edge of the faceoff circle high into the right corner on a 10-foot shot.
Pittsburgh's Gary Rissling had tied the score, 1-1, at 7:00 of the second period, taking Shedden's pass from behind the net and slipping the puck behind Melanson. Tom McCarthy scored on a power play at 16:00 in the first period for the North Stars.