Penguins beat Thrashers, 4-2
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ATLANTA -- Evgeni Malkin scored three goals to lead the Penguins to a 4-2 victory against Atlanta at Philips Arena tonight.
The Penguins (9-8-1) have won consecutive games since running off four in a row Oct. 15-21.
Malkin's hat trick was his sixth in the NHL and his first since Jan. 19.
Brent Sopel gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead at 2:41 of the opening period, when he beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a shot from the right point.
Thrashers forward Eric Boulton and Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek were positioned in front of Fleury when Sopel, who had not gotten a goal in his previous 70 games, threw the puck toward the net.
Alex Goligoski appeared to tie the game for the Penguins at 7:56 of the second, when he beat Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec with a slap shot from the left point, but the goal was disallowed.
No explanation for the call was given, but it apparently was waved off because Penguins forward Mike Rupp was bumping into Pavelec as the puck approached the net.
There was no controversy about the goal Malkin got at 13:22, however.
He exchanged passes with linemate Arron Asham before putting a shot past Pavelec from low in the right circle for his fifth of the season. The second assist went to Kris Letang, who began the evening in a three-way tie for the scoring lead among NHL defensemen.
Sidney Crosby put the Penguins in front, 2-1, at 2:41 of the third, as he deflected a Deryk Engelland shot past Pavelec for his 12th. Malkin got the other assist.
Malkin gave them some breathing room at 4:42, as he backhanded the rebound of a shot he had tipped off the boards behind the Atlanta net. Paul Martin and Crosby got assists.
The goal was Malkin's sixth of the season and his first with a man-advantage in 2010-11.
Niclas Bergfors of Atlanta sliced the Penguins' lead to 3-2 by beating Fleury from the left side of the crease at 10:45, but Malkin scored into an empty net at 18:58 to provide the final margin of victory.
The Penguins will play their next three games at home, beginning with one against the New York Rangers Monday at 7:08 p.m.
First Published November 13, 2010 9:32 pm