Penguins top Jets
PITTSBURGH—Evgeni Malkin scored twice in his return from injury as the Pittsburgh Penguins topped the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 yesterday afternoon.
James Neal added two goals for Pittsburgh, which matched a club record by winning its 12th-straight home game.
Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, stopped 29 shots as Penguins’ coach Dan Bylsma won his 232nd game with Pittsburgh—moving into a tie with Eddie Johnston for the most victories in franchise history.
Evander Kane had two goals and an assist for the Jets.
Jacob Trouba, Blake Wheeler, and Mark Scheifele also scored as Winnipeg remained winless in Pittsburgh since 2006.
Al Montoya made 33 saves but couldn’t make an early two-goal lead stand.
Malkin missed nine games with a lower leg injury but hardly looked rusty yesterday. He scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season, and added an assist, as the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins extended their home dominance.
Pittsburgh’s 12-game run at Consol Energy Center matches a similar run the club put together between Feb. 22-March 30, 2013.
This one, however, was harder than most.
The Jets—less than 24 hours removed from a dismal 4-1 loss to Boston—hardly looked like a team overwhelmed by Pittsburgh’s home-ice dominance or the return of a pair of all-stars.
Winnipeg took the lead just 1:47 into the game as Trouba pounced on an Olli Jokinen rebound and flipped it into the open net.
Trouba’s fourth goal of the season also snapped a streak of 438:19 of game time in which the Penguins either had been in the lead or tied at home—a streak that dates back to Nov. 27.
Pittsburgh had a chance to even it late in the first period when Sidney Crosby was interfered with on a breakaway.
But his penalty shot was knocked out of harm’s way by Montoya, leaving Crosby without a penalty shot goal during his career (0-for-4).
Scheifele made it 2-0 with just four seconds left in the first on a knuckler that Fleury couldn’t get a handle on.
All it did, though, was set the stage for a furious second period in which the teams combined to score seven times on just 24 shots.
A Winnipeg turnover led to a nasty wrist shot from Malkin for his first goal since Dec. 14.
Neal then followed by scoring twice in 34 seconds to give Pittsburgh the lead.
The Jets, however, would not go away. Kane beat Fleury twice—first with a beautiful backhand on a breakaway and then from a mad scramble to flip the puck over Fleury with 17 seconds left in the second.