Toronto at Pittsburgh

Back indoors, Penguins get first career hat trick from Malkin

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

PITTSBURGH -- Indoors or outdoors, the Pittsburgh Penguins are hard to beat these days.

Evgeni Malkin had his first three-goal game in the NHL and the Penguins put away Toronto with three goals in 48 seconds early in the third period, returning indoors for a 6-2 victory Thursday that ran their season-best winning streak to five games.

"The team winning is the best feeling," said Malkin, last season's Rookie of the Year. "The team is winning games. We're playing better and better every game."

Sidney Crosby assisted on two of Malkin's goals, Petr Sykora had a goal and an assist and Ty Conklin turned aside 33 shots to improve to 6-0 as a starter since being called up from the minors following goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's severe ankle injury.

"Once he gets one, he wants to get two and thereafter, too," defenseman Brooks Orpik said about Malkin. "He really looked good."

The Penguins showed no aftereffects from their physically demanding 2-1 Winter Classic shootout victory Tuesday in Buffalo, the NHL's first regular-season outdoor game in the United States. The players talked during a long practice Wednesday of not getting caught up in the emotion and the aura of the showcase game, watched by the largest crowd to attend an NHL game.

"The ice was different (in Buffalo), the game was a little different," forward Jarkko Ruutu said. "It was fun and entertaining, but I was sort of tired at the end of it and I'm sure guys were, too."

With the Penguins dragging a bit midway through the second period, Ruutu sought out a fight with Darcy Tucker. The Penguins went on to score four goals in the next 9½ minutes.

"The guys really responded to the fight," coach Michel Therrien said. "That was a key point as far as we were concerned and it's a good sign when you see your teammates respond."

The Penguins supported Conklin with another solid defensive effort -- they have allowed eight goals during the five-game streak. With a much better ice surface on which to skate and no blowing snow, the Penguins seemed back in their element.

"Momentum is a funny thing and they capitalized on it," Maple Leafs goalie Scott Clemmensen said. "They got us back on our heels and before we could take a breath, they knocked three quick ones in on us."

Rookie Tyler Kennedy started the Penguins' four-goal flurry in the third by scoring three minutes in, making it 3-1 after Jordan Staal gained control of the puck along the boards and set him up.

Malkin scored again 37 seconds later and, after the Penguins won the ensuing faceoff, Sykora scored his first goal since Dec. 11, causing Toronto coach Paul Maurice to hastily call a timeout.

"An outburst like that shouldn't happen," defenseman Hal Gill said. "We should get fired up after they score a goal and go back at it, but that didn't happen. We were controlling the tempo but then we slacked off and they got comfortable and they got the momentum."

Malkin made it 2-1 with about 5½ minutes remaining in the second period, setting up down low and scoring off Crosby's pass from the high slot. Eric Christensen had scored the tying goal, his sixth, on a wraparound in the opening 90 seconds of the period.

Malkin looked as though he might miss getting the hat trick when he whiffed from the side of the net during a Penguins power play late in the third. But shortly after that he scored his 18th goal of the season - celebrating by waving his arms, yelling and skating with a flourish behind the net.

"He's been close a few times and he really loves to score goals and it's great to see him that happy and finally get that," Crosby said. "To be able to get one, then another one, that puts a lot of pressure on a team."

Mats Sundin assisted on both Toronto goals, but the Maple Leafs lost their fourth in five games and seventh in nine games. Sundin has 13 goals and 20 assists in his last 19 games against the Penguins and 81 points in 39 career games against them.

Notes

  • Toronto reached the halfway point of its season with a 16-17-8 record.
  • In a switch, the Penguins wore their white jerseys at home and the Maple Leafs wore their home blue.
  • The Penguins are 14-5 since being a season's worst 8-11-2 on Nov. 21.
  • Crosby doesn't have a regulation goal in six games, but has a goal and 11 assists in his last seven games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Carlo Colaiacovo is unable to prevent Evgeni Malkin (71) from scoring with a backhander on the goalie. (AP)
Carlo Colaiacovo is unable to prevent Evgeni Malkin (71) from scoring with a backhander on the goalie. (AP)

Scoreboard
Toronto (16-17-8)1012
Pittsburgh  (22-16-2) «0246
Three Stars
E. Malkin
PIT


Goals: 3
Assist(s): 0
T. Conklin
PIT


Saves: 33
Save Pct.: .943
J. Ruutu
PIT


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
10:34Jason Blake (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Mats Sundin, Alexander Steen
2ND PERIOD
01:24Erik Christensen (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Darryl Sydor, Jarkko Ruutu
14:22Evgeni Malkin (16), Slap Shot. Assist: Sidney Crosby, Colby Armstrong
3RD PERIOD
03:00Tyler Kennedy (7), Backhand Shot. Assist: Jordan Staal, Sergei Gonchar
03:37Evgeni Malkin (17), Slap Shot. Assist: Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang
03:48Petr Sykora (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Jarkko Ruutu, Brooks Orpik
12:53Power Play - Jason Blake (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Pavel Kubina, Mats Sundin
15:28Power Play - Evgeni Malkin (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Ryan Whitney, Sergei Gonchar
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
07:51Kennedy, 2 min, Slashing
11:21Sykora, 2 min, Hooking
16:41Kubina, 2 min, Tripping
16:41Bell, 2 min, Roughing
16:41Armstrong, 2 min, Roughing
2ND PERIOD
06:33Stajan, 2 min, Hooking
09:33Ruutu, 5 min, Fighting
09:33Tucker, 5 min, Fighting
18:53Sydor, 2 min, High-Sticking
3RD PERIOD
05:09Staal, 2 min, High-Sticking
05:42Malone, 5 min, Fighting
05:42Bell, 5 min, Fighting
12:18Gonchar, 2 min, Hooking
14:05Kaberle, 2 min, Interference
16:38Wozniewski, 4 min, High-Sticking
17:35Gill, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Toronto1191535
Pittsburgh411924
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Scott Clemmensen59:51186
Ty Conklin60:00332
Game Information
Attendance - 17074
Referees - Marc Joannette, Chris Lee
Linesmen - Ryan Galloway, Jean Morin
 
Other Games
Chi 2 Final
Pho 4
Colu 4 Final
LA 3
Edm 2 Final
Nash 5
Wash 0 Final
Bos 2
TB 3 Final
Mon 6
NYR 0 Final
Van 3
Cal 3 Final
OT
SJ 2
Fla 4 Final
OT
NYI 3
Dal 3 Final
Min 6