Malkin rockets Penguins past Jets, 8-5
The Penguins' Kris Letang celebrates after scoring a goal against the Winnipeg Jets at the Consol Energy Center in this afternoon's game.
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Evgeni Malkin, playing in his 400th NHL game, had five points as the Penguins topped the Winnipeg Jets, 8-5, today at Consol Energy Center.
Malkin leads the NHL with 67 points.
The win combined with a loss to New Jersey lifted the Penguins into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, third in the Atlantic Division.
It was the Penguins' 10th home win in a row against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise.
The Jets scored the first two goals.
Kyle Wellwood, who missed Winnipeg's previous game because of illness, drove to the net and swept in a pass from the corner by Tobias Enstrom to make it 1-0 at 5:17 of the first period.
Alexander Burmistrov gave the Jets a 2-0 lead at 8:04 of the first period when his shot from the right point deflected in off the stick of the Penguins' Cal O'Reilly.
The Penguins came back to tie it before the end of the first period with goals 4:31 apart.
Jordan Staal, playing in his first game after a knee injury popped the puck loose near the penalty boxes. Dustin Jeffrey caught up to the loose puck just over the blue line, moved in on Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and scored with a shot to the short side from the lower right circle, making it 2-1 at 12:11.
With his 29th goal, James Neal tied it, 2-2, at 16:42 on a rocket from the top of the left circle on a faceoff play. Malkin won the faceoff against the Jets' Jim Slater cleanly back to Neal.
On a power play, Malkin got a long lead pass to Chris Kunitz, who scored from the right dot to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead at 3:12 of the second period. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre picked up the other assist, the 10th of his career.
The Penguins boosted their lead to 4-2 after Malkin and Letang had a two-on-one. Enstrom, the defending Jets player, got a piece of Malkin's pass through the slot, but the puck still got through to Letang, who scored from in tight at 9:53 of the second period.
Malkin's third assist moved him into eighth place all-time on the Penguins' assist list with 296, passing Kevin Stevens.
Blake Wheeler made a nice to set up a goal for Winnipeg at 14:19 of the second period. From his belly behind the Penguins net, he swept the puck toward the crease. Tim Stapleton, who had missed the previous nine games because of injury and already had an assist in the game, knocked the puck in while being tangled with Zbynek Michalek of the Penguins to close it to 4-3.
Malkin, who already had three assists, scored at 17:08 of the second period to give the Penguins a 5-3 lead. He was set up on a short breakaway by Kunitz and tucked the puck inside the right post.
That gave Malkin a seven-game home goal streak.
The Jets closed to within 5-4 at 4:35 of the third period when Dustin Byfuglien scored on a long rebound of a shot by Blake Wheeler.
The Penguins answered just 19 seconds later when Richard Park redirected in a slap shot by Brooks Orpik, making it 6-4 at 4:54 of the third period. It was Park's 100th career goal.
Staal struck at 7:48 of the third period to give the Penguins a 7-4 lead. Matt Cooke, after taking the puck off of Burmistrov along the wall, got it to Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis found Staal streaking down the slot, and Staal shot the puck past Pavelec's stick.
The Jets weren't done. Bryan Little scored from the slot at 10:02 of the third period to make it 7-5.
Letang made it 8-5 with a power-play goal off of a scramble in front of the net at 17:16 of the third period. Malkin had an assist for his fifth point.
The Penguins play Sunday night against Tampa Bay at Consol Energy Center.