Malkin pow­ers surg­ing Pen­guins past Red Wings

San Francisco Chronicle - - SPORTS - Fri­day night

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.”

Gene J. Puskar / As­so­ci­ated Press

The Pen­guins’ Ev­geni Malkin cel­e­brates his first­pe­riod goal.

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