Penguins rally to knock off Jets for 12th consecutive win at home
Evgeni Malkin is going to play on a line with Alex Ovechkin at the Winter Olympics.
He wants to perform like Ovechkin before and after those Games.
Sunday was a strong start.
“You see ‘Ovi' last year — he did not score (much) in the first 20 games then after he (has) scored in (almost) every game,” Malkin said after scoring twice in the Penguins' 6-5 win over Winnipeg at Consol Energy Center that matched a franchise-best 12th consecutive home win.
Malkin produced three points in his first game after missing nine in a row because of an injured left leg.
“It's very important for me,” Malkin said of being rewarded for the way he played Sunday.
He initiated contact with Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. He charged toward the net that Winnipeg's Al Montoya tried to protect. He instinctively read wingers James Neal and Jussi Jokinen, each of whom set up a Malkin goal. He attempted five shots, placing four.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma described Malkin's performance as “big for his confidence.”
“It's big for our team,” Bylsma said.
Malkin has eight goals and 35 points in his past 19 games. He has failed to record a point only once and produced 11 multiple-point games on this run.
He had only 12 goals and 43 points in 44 prior games, dating to last season, before this stretch.
That is why he mentioned Ovechkin, his fellow former MVP/scoring champion Russian who has 54 goals in the past 63 games after scoring only nine in his first 23 contests upon returning from the NHL lockout.
Bylsma, set to coach the United States at the Olympics next month, will have to figure out how to limit the scoring chances Malkin and Ovechkin will generate in a USA-Russia showdown in each club's second game.
He will spend more time on that than reviewing video of the Penguins' win over the Jets, which he jokingly said he would remove from his laptop's hard drive.
The Jets are now responsible for 10.9 percent of the goals surrendered by the Penguins at home in 22 games.
This was Winnipeg's only visit to Consol Energy Center, and it came 24 hours after the Jets were grounded, 4-1, at Boston on Saturday. Still, the Penguins trailed 2-0 after the opening period and 5-4 in the third before Malkin's second goal of the game with about 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
Matt Niskanen scored his fifth goal about four minutes later, taking a feed from defense partner Olli Maatta, and then blasting a shot past Montoya.
That sequence actually began with captain Sidney Crosby losing an offensive-zone faceoff, but left winger Chris Kunitz retrieved the puck and knocked it back to Maatta.
Niskanen subtly hinted that Hockey Canada executive director Steve Yzerman might want to check out that play by Kunitz before settling on that country's Olympic roster by Tuesday.
“That's a small detail that maybe not everybody sees,” Niskanen said. “When your wingers help out like that, it makes all the difference.”
Actually, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's late robbery of Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd made for the difference. With Ladd, a left-handed shot, positioned in front of the crease for a rebound, Fleury spread to his right and knocked down with his right blocker a shot by Ladd with 2:28 remaining.
Malkin thought that save was more worthy of attention than his performance.
“I'm not (thinking) about my points if we win,” Malkin said.
What he will think about before, during and after the Olympics …
“Work hard. Shoot (the) puck. Have fun,” Malkin said.
“And win a lot.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Penguins trade for Toronto’s Kessel
- Penguins intend to sign Russian winger Plotnikov, target Tikhonov
- Shopping season starts up for Penguins amid onset of free agency
- Penguins notebook: Sheary hoping to return to organization
- Examining the draft trends of the last 3 Penguins GMs
- Scouts think Penguins could regain luster with minor tinkering
- Starkey: Kessel worth Penguins’ inquiry
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- No team did less than Penguins at NHL Draft
- Defenseman Martin’s agent planning meeting with Penguins at draft