Surging Malkin, Penguins roll past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. — Following Florida's morning skate Saturday, new coach Peter Horachek said he didn't watch any video of the previous meeting between the Penguins and Panthers.
Next time, he might want to study the guy wearing No. 71 more thoroughly.
Same goes for the rest of the NHL.
Evgeni Malkin continued his resurgence with a four-point night as the Penguins rolled past the Panthers, 5-1.
“He did it a lot of different ways tonight,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who called Malkin's performance “remarkable.”
“His effort has been pretty consistent for a long stretch of games here.”
Malkin scored his seventh goal of the season and finished the month with 24 points — including 20 assists — in 15 games. Following an extended goal-scoring slump, Malkin suddenly finds himself only a point behind teammate Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead.
“I'm not thinking about that,” said Malkin, who instead deflected credit for his strong recent play to linemate James Neal.
“Good thing for Nealer. When he came back, I knew I'd play a little bit better.”
The center assisted on the game's opening goal, which saw Chris Kunitz notch his 14th of the season. Kunitz is on pace for 41 goals.
Center Joe Vitale then added his first goal of the season to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead after one despite being badly outshot.
After Florida curiously had a goal disallowed in the second period — Brad Boyes didn't appear to kick the puck, but the NHL ruled otherwise, setting off Florida general manager Dale Tallon in the press box — Malkin simply took control of the game.
“You could tell he was just about to bust out earlier in the season,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “He's just working so hard. It was a matter of time. He just has that ability to take over.”
Malkin led a rush into Florida territory before dishing a pass to defenseman Olli Maatta. The rookie immediately returned the pass to Malkin, who made goaltender Tim Thomas, who would be pulled following the second period, look bad with a backhand move.
On the Penguins' fourth goal, Malkin made a number of Panthers look bad.
Malkin outworked the Panthers behind the net before locating his favorite target, Neal, who buried his sixth goal in the past five games.
Although the Penguins had taken control of the game entering the third period, Malkin continued to work harder, playing with more confidence than the player who continually was passing up open shots as recently as two weeks ago. The Penguins were outshot 40-22 but never seemed in danger of losing because of him.
“You saw tonight that we don't need a lot of opportunities to score with the skill we have,” said goalie Jeff Zatkoff, who stopped 39 of 40 shots for his fourth straight win.
The Malkin Show continued in the third period when he picked off Erik Gudbranson's pass and, in one motion, located Jussi Jokinen for his ninth goal of the season.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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.
- Roundup: Keurig strikes deal with Kraft on coffee brands; more
- Lopsided loss to Eagles shows Steelers have issues aplenty
- Harrison’s 5 RBIs help Pirates pound Brewers
- Mother Nature takes a swat at Western Pa. stink bugs
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- Hero Franklin Regional security guard out of work
- Steelers notebook: Keisel always hoped to return
- Sandusky cover-up case unusually shrouded
- Records: Steelers RB Bell admitted smoking pot before traffic stop but denied being high
- New-Ken Arnold will have new-look school security
- Expert: Print on cyanide vial could be vital in Ferrante murder trial