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Pittsburgh at Atlanta

Penguins' Malkin adds more goals, assists to league-best 53 points

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin supplied goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with plenty of offensive support after his five-week absence caused by a groin strain.

Malkin had two goals and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Atlanta Thrashers 6-3 on Thursday night behind Fleury's 28 saves.

The Penguins had lost four of five and were 5-6-2 since Fleury last played on Nov. 15 in a victory over Buffalo. He showed little rust against Atlanta, which held a 31-19 shots advantage.

"He was phenomenal," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "He made key save after key save. I'm more than pleased with his performance."

Once Fleury settled down and was given a cushion by the offense, he felt much better, too. He even put the injury out of his mind.

"I was a little nervous, but after a couple of shots, I was OK," Fleury said. "I was relieved when we got the first two goals. After that, I didn't think about it much."

Malkin, who has 53 points, helped take the pressure off. He netted his 13th goal in the first period, added his 38th and 39th assist in the second period, and scored into an empty net with 26.2 seconds left. He has 14 points during a seven-game scoring streak.

"Malkin played an outstanding game," Therrien said.

The big story, though, was Fleury's successful return.

"He was sharp, especially after being off a month," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said.

Crosby has gone eight games without a goal, but had two assists to raise his point total to 46 -- second in the NHL to Malkin. He passed up an open-net chance and gave the puck to Malkin in the closing seconds.

"As nice as goals are and as nice as empty nets are, you just have to trust your instincts," Crosby said. "I saw him open and made a play."

Matt Cooke, Jordan Staal, Miroslav Satan and Phillippe Boucher also scored for Pittsburgh. Marty Reasoner, Bryan Little and Colby Armstrong had Atlanta's goals.

Staal and Satan scored on Pittsburgh's first two power plays early in the second period and Atlanta rookie goalie Ondrej Pavelec was pulled after Boucher scored at even strength to make it a three-goal game at 8:04 of the period. The rookie stopped just eight of 13 shots before being replaced by Johan Hedberg.

Staal's power-play goal came at 3:30, then Satan scored his 12th goal at 5:54. Little cut Pittsburgh's lead back to two goals with his 12th on a power play at 7:32. But Boucher scored just 32 seconds later for the Penguins.

Armstrong, traded last season to Atlanta by the Penguins in the Marian Hossa deal, scored an unassisted goal with 5:05 left.

"We can't let any mistakes creep into our game or else we pay for it," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "We get so far behind that we can't catch up."

Pittsburgh scored on two of its first four shots, with Cooke and Malkin getting goals at 5:32 and 9:40 of the opening period.

Atlanta cut Pittsburgh's lead to 2-1 with 39 seconds left in the first period. Ilya Kovalchuk's slap shot deflected off Reasoner and past Fleury into the net. A melee followed the goal, with Crosby giving Atlanta a power play by drawing the third roughing penalty.

"I threw one (punch), but I didn't land it," Crosby said.

Notes

  • D Scott Lehman, called up by Atlanta from Chicago (AHL), made his NHL debut. He replaced D Garnet Exelby, who is out with a lower body injury.
  • Pittsburgh played forwards Jeff Taffe and Ryan Stone in place of Maxime Talbot and Michael Zigomanis, who are sidelined by injuries. Taffe and Stone were promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL).
  • Pittsburgh started a stretch of four games in six days.
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.
 
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Evgeni Malkin provides four points in a game for the fourth time this season. (AP)
Evgeni Malkin provides four points in a game for the fourth time this season. (AP)
Scoreboard
Pittsburgh  (17-10-4) «2316
Atlanta (10-17-4)1113
Three Stars
E. Malkin
PIT


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 2
M. Fleury
PIT


Saves: 28
Save Pct.: .903
J. Staal
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:32Matt Cooke (4), Snap Shot. Assist: Wallace, Staal
09:40Evgeni Malkin (13), Tip-In. Assist: Sykora
19:21Marty Reasoner (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Kovalchuk, Thorburn
2ND PERIOD
03:30Power Play - Jordan Staal (11), Slap Shot. Assist: Malkin, Crosby
05:54Power Play - Miroslav Satan (12), Backhand Shot. Assist: Taffe, Fedotenko
07:32Power Play - Bryan Little (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: White, Kozlov
08:04Philippe Boucher (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Malkin, Sykora
3RD PERIOD
14:55Colby Armstrong (7), Snap Shot, Unassisted.
19:33Evgeni Malkin (14), Empty Net. Assist: Crosby, Scuderi
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
15:24Fedotenko, 2 min, Boarding
19:21Orpik, 2 min, Roughing
19:21Valabik, 2 min, Roughing
19:21Crosby, 2 min, Roughing
2ND PERIOD
02:59Crabb, 2 min, Holding
04:27Armstrong, 2 min, High-Sticking
07:19Eaton, 2 min, Hooking
10:30Cooke, 2 min, High-Sticking
13:28Slater, 2 min, Tripping
3RD PERIOD
02:52Godard, 10 min, Misconduct
02:52Armstrong, 10 min, Misconduct
08:17Malkin, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Pittsburgh69520
Atlanta991331
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Marc-Andre Fleury60:00283
Johan Hedberg30:4760
Ondrej Pavelec27:5785
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Pittsburgh2-for-3
Atlanta1-for-5
Game Information
Attendance - 15124
Referees - Chris Rooney, Don Van Massenhoven
Linesmen - Brian Murphy, Derek Nansen
 
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