Malkin powers surging Penguins past Red Wings
Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins returned from their bye week and picked up right where they left off.
Malkin had two goals and two assists, and the host Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday for their third consecutive victory.
“It’s always fun when you win and have more confidence,” Malkin said. “Your game is better, the mood is better, and now we’re feeling so much better.”
Phil Kessel added a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, which had dropped its previous three games against Detroit. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and rookie Tristan Jarry stopped 29 shots in his third straight start while Matt Murray is home in Canada tending to a family matter.
The Penguins have won four of five after dropping seven of their previous 10. Their threegame win streak is their longest since they won four in a row from late November into December.
“I think we’ve felt good about our last couple games going into the break,” Crosby said. “I don’t think we rest on that. I think we try to continue to get better.”
Justin Abdelkader scored for the Red Wings, who lost their second straight after a four-game winning streak. Jimmy Howard made 32 saves after missing one game with a lower-body injury.
Detroit went 1-for-7 on the power play. Pittsburgh was 2-for-5.
“If you look at it, their best players were better than our best players,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I think if you go down to it, they score. They took care of business on the power play and we didn’t.”
Malkin opened the scoring 3:01 into the first game for each team since their five-day break. Carl Hagelin, from behind the net, fed the puck in the slot to Malkin, who beat Howard to the glove side.
The teams traded power-play goals later in the period.
Abdelkader tied it with a shot between Jarry’s pads and Kessel gave Pittsburgh the lead when he one-touched a Crosby pass behind Howard from in close. The Penguins, the No. 1 unit in the league, have 12 power-play goals in their past 10 games.
Detroit had just one power-play goal in its previous seven games entering Saturday’s contest.
Malkin gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead just 2:08 into the second when he beat Howard to the blocker side off a Kessel feed. Malkin has scored in three straight games. He has 14 points in his past eight games and 12 goals in his past 19 contests.
“As an elite player, (Malkin) is a guy, when he starts to feel it, and he scores a goal, all of the sudden his mind-set and confidence level gets higher and the puck tends to follow him,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.
Crosby’s third-period power-play goal off a pass from Kessel gave Pittsburgh a three-goal lead. Kessel has eight points in his past five games and Crosby has 10 in his past five.
“I think it’s nice to get rewarded, feel good about our game and know what it looks like to have that consistency,” Crosby said. “We can build on that. We have to continue with the same effort and on top of that, continue to get better.”
Islanders 7, Rangers 2:
Mathew Barzal had two goals and three assists, Anthony Beauvillier added two goals and an assist, and the visiting Islanders beat the Rangers for their ninth win in the past 10 meetings of the New York rivals.
Shane Prince, Thomas Hickey and Cal Clutterbuck also scored, helping the Islanders to the victory in both teams’ first game after their respective five-day byes. Jordan Eberle had four assists in the Isles’ highest scoring game of the season, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 37 shots.
Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers, who have lost three of four. Ondrej Pavelec was pulled in the second period after giving up five goals on 19 shots, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 16 saves.
The Carolina Hurricanes learned a tough lesson over the past 1½ weeks: No lead is safe on home ice against the Washington Capitals.
Jay Beagle scored with 1.3 seconds remaining and Washington rallied to beat host Carolina 4-3.
Brett Connolly notched the tying goal with 3:08 left, and Alex Ovechkin added his NHL-leading 28th goal and two assists for the first-place Capitals, who lost to the Hurricanes a night earlier in Washington.
“It kind of had almost a playoff atmosphere, especially in the first, just seeing each other backto-back,” Beagle said. “It kind of gets that little bit of hatred and little bit of rivalry going.”
The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin celebrates his firstperiod goal.