The Penguins downed the Florida Panthers, 3-1, tonight at Consol Energy Center, evening their home record at 4-4.
It might have been a costly game, however. Center Evgeni Malkin, the defending NHL scoring champion and MVP, left the game after slamming hard into the end boards at 4:51 of the third period after colliding with Florida's Erik Gudbranson. He appeared to hit his back and then his head, which snapped back into the boards.
He remained on the ice for a couple of minutes, then skated off on his own and went to the locker room. There was no immediate word on his status.
The Penguins outshot Florida, 12-3, in a scoreless first period. It was the lowest total of shots they have given up in a period this season.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at 8:25 of the second period on Mike Weaver's screened shot from the right point.
Chris Kunitz tied it for the Penguins, 1-1, with a power-play goal at 10:41 of the second period. He poked in a second rebound after shots by Malkin and James Neal.
It was the 10th game in a row that the Penguins have scored on a power play.
The Penguins took a 2-1 lead at 7:49 of the third period on Matt Niskanen's slap shot from near the left point.
Dustin Jeffrey increased the Penguins' lead to 3-1 at 15:15 of the third period. He got a rebound of a Matt Cooke shot, spun around the top of the crease and beat Florida goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
The Penguins' next game is Sunday night against Tampa Bay at home.
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly First Published February 23, 2013 2:45 AM