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Philadelphia at Pittsburgh

Sizzling Malkin scores four more points as Pens fell Flyers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin's parents can't return to Russia soon enough for the rest of the NHL.

Malkin scored a goal and set up three others, giving him seven points in two days, and the Pittsburgh Penguins finally figured out how to beat cross-state Philadelphia by winning 4-3 Sunday.

The Flyers, swept in eight games by the Penguins last season, never trailed during four previous victories against Pittsburgh this season with Martin Biron in goal. They fell behind 3-1 in the second period of this game as Malkin played a role in every goal.

Malkin assisted on goals by Petr Sykora, Sergei Gonchar and Kris Letang and scored against Biron to extend a scoring surge that began when star Sidney Crosby injured his right ankle Jan. 18. Malkin has 15 points during five consecutive multiple-point games and 21 points, with eight goals, in 10 games as Pittsburgh has gone 6-2-2 without the injured Crosby.

Malkin's parents arrived from Russia this weekend to watch him play for the first time this season, and they must be liking this. The rest of the Atlantic Division won't enjoy this: Mom and Dad Malkin are staying another two weeks.

"Hopefully we're going to win all these games and I'm going to play good," Malkin said, speaking through an interpreter. "I've never had a stretch like this over here in NHL or back in the Russian league," where the 21-year-old Malkin played before joining the Penguins last season.

"He's a world-class player and a big concern," Flyers coach John Stevens said.

He might be a bigger concern to the Flyers in the future, too. Malkin, who usually brags on his teammates and rarely reveals much about himself during interviews, acknowledged he doesn't like playing against Philadelphia. The first four games between the teams this season featured numerous fights and angry outbursts by the coaches.

"When we play against them, we have problems like people throwing popcorn on our bench," Malkin said. "I don't really like to play against them. ... I don't like that team. It's something that's a little bit extra."

R.J. Umberger scored twice for Philadelphia and has seven of his 11 goals this season against his hometown Penguins, but he couldn't prevent the Flyers' second loss in as many days.

The Flyers, 2-0 losers at home Saturday to the Rangers, fell four points behind Atlantic Division leader Pittsburgh, which increased its lead over idle to New Jersey to three points. The Penguins, 4-2 winners Saturday over Los Angeles as Malkin had two goals and an assist, are in first place by themselves for the first time this season.

Malkin, last season's NHL Rookie of the Year, promised when Crosby was hurt to assume Crosby's role as team leader and leading scorer, and he's done that and more.

"He's upgraded his game a big notch, so give him a lot of credit," said coach Michel Therrien, whose team won its third in a row. "He showed everyone that he is a great player. He is showing that he can be a great leader."

A very good scorer, too.

Just as they were in the 2005 NHL Draft, Russian stars Alex Ovechkin and Malkin are 1-2 again; Ovechkin leads the NHL with 76 points after getting three points during a 3-2 win Sunday against the Rangers, while Malkin is tied with Ottawa's Daniel Alfredssson for second place with 73 points.

Asked if he can catch Ovechkin, Malkin said, "I'm going to try."

Malkin drew multiple defenders as he skated down the left wing boards with the Flyers up 1-0 in the first, allowing Sykora to get open near the right circle and score his 18th after taking Malkin's pass.

Later in the period, Malkin drew Scott Hartnell into taking a roughing penalty, even though it appeared Malkin shoved Hartnell first, and the penalty led to Gonchar's power-play goal 38 seconds into the second. Malkin scored his 31st of the season late in the second, grabbing Sykora's return pass to score from the slot while slipping to his knees.

"They are playing really good with Crosby out of the lineup," Umberger said. "It's a little surprising."

Penguins goalie Ty Conklin made 27 saves, despite allowing goals in the third period by Umberger and Hartnell, and is 14-3-3 after beginning the season as the injured Marc-Andre Fleury's backup.

This game wasn't as feisty as the previous four, perhaps because both teams were playing their second afternoon game in as many days.

Penguins forward Jarkko Ruutu and the Flyers' Steve Downie traded punches during an extended fight late in the first that Downie halted by dropping his hands and skating away, but there were no other fights.

Flyers forward Simon Gagne sat out the final two periods with a concussion -- his second this season -- and will be reevaluated Monday. The Flyers already were without defenseman Braydon Coburn (muscle injury) and right wing Scottie Upshall (high ankle sprain), who were hurt in their previous two games.

Notes

  • Malkin's linemates, Sykora and Ryan Malone, had two assists apiece.
  • Pittsburgh is 4-1-1 in its last six games.
  • The Flyers' Daniel Briere didn't score a goal for the eighth consecutive game.
  • Umberger has six goals and five assists in five games against Pittsburgh this season and eight goals and 10 assists in 20 career games.
Copyright 2015 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.
 
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Kris Letang (58) thanks Evgeni Malkin for assisting on a third-period goal, which gives the Pens a 4-2 lead.  (AP)
Kris Letang (58) thanks Evgeni Malkin for assisting on a third-period goal, which gives the Pens a 4-2 lead. (AP)
Related Links
 
Scoreboard
Philadelphia (30-20-5)1023
Pittsburgh  (32-19-5) «1214
Three Stars
E. Malkin
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 3
R. Umberger
PHI


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
P. Sykora
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
06:34Power Play - R.J. Umberger (10), Slap Shot. Assist: Jeff Carter, Randy Jones
16:20Petr Sykora (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Malone
2ND PERIOD
38.0Power Play - Sergei Gonchar (9), Slap Shot. Assist: Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang
18:43Evgeni Malkin (31), Slap Shot. Assist: Darryl Sydor, Ryan Malone
3RD PERIOD
46.0R.J. Umberger (11), Backhand Shot. Assist: Steve Downie, Jim Vandermeer
12:14Kris Letang (4), Slap Shot. Assist: Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora
19:27Scott Hartnell (18), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mike Richards, Kimmo Timonen
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:14Talbot, 2 min, Slashing
05:14Talbot, 2 min, Roughing
17:21Ruutu, 5 min, Fighting
17:21Downie, 5 min, Fighting
18:44Kukkonen, 2 min, High-Sticking
18:44Christensen, 2 min, High-Sticking
19:18Hartnell, 2 min, Roughing
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
03:12Whitney, 2 min, Hooking
15:17Malkin, 2 min, Closing Hand on Puck
15:33Timonen, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
 123T
Philadelphia791430
Pittsburgh812525
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Martin Biron59:08214
Ty Conklin60:00273
Game Information
Attendance - 17132
Referees - Dan O'Rourke, Kevin Pollock
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Mark Shewchyk
 
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