ShareThis Page
Three-goal flurry in 2nd period helps Penguins knock off Capitals | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

Three-goal flurry in 2nd period helps Penguins knock off Capitals

Jonathan Bombulie
| Tuesday, March 12, 2019 9:47 p.m
869382_web1_gtr-pens07-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins celebrate with Sidney Crosby after Crosby’s second goal against the Capitals’ in the second period Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
869382_web1_gtr-pens03-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby loses his footing in front of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby in the first period Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
869382_web1_gtr-pens01-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby makes a save on the Penguins’ Justin Schultz in the first period Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
869382_web1_gtr-pens02-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby makes a save on the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby in the first period Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
869382_web1_gtr-pens05-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin checks the Penguins’ Patric Hornqvist in the second period Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
869382_web1_gtr-pens09-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray makes a save on the Capitals’ Nic Dowd in the second period Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
869382_web1_gtr-pens04-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom celebrates with Jakub Vrana after Vrana’s goal against the Penguins in the second period Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
869382_web1_gtr-pens08-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins celebrate with Sidney Crosby after Crosby’s second goal against the Capitals’ in the second period Tuesday.
869382_web1_gtr-pens06-031319
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby celebrates his first goal against the Capitals in the second period.

If he tried really hard, Evgeni Malkin could think up a thing or two that could have gone better on the night he became the 88th player in NHL history to record 1,000 career points.

The milestone moment could have come on one of those trademark Malkin goals where he gallops through the neutral zone, splits the defense and gets a crowd on its feet, as opposed to a secondary assist.

It could have come in the first period rather than the third, so it didn’t happen after his 2-year-old son Nikita’s bedtime.

When all was said and done, though, Malkin was in no mood to quibble.

He was in the mood to celebrate and reflect on a great moment in his legendary career after his pair of power-play assists helped the Penguins to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena.

“A thousand points, it’s a crazy number, for sure,” Malkin said. “Growing up in a small city, I never (thought) I’d play in the NHL and score 1,000 points. It’s probably a special day for my hometown, too. First guy to make 1,000 points, win a Stanley Cup. I’m so glad.”

Malkin reached the milestone in a crucial late-season win over one of his team’s longest-standing rivals.

The victory helped the Penguins move one step closer to a playoff berth. They are in third place in the Metropolitan Division, four points behind the first-place Capitals with 12 games to play.

“It’s two huge points, and I make 1,000 points. It’s absolutely an amazing night for me. It’s like one of the best nights of my life, for sure,” Malkin said, noting his parents and wife were in attendance.

On a night when two of their nearest rivals for the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, Columbus and Montreal, secured wins, the Penguins fell behind 2-0 midway through the second period on a pair of Jakub Vrana goals.

Their comeback began when Jared McCann stripped a puck from Evgeny Kuznetsov and started a successful two-on-one with Jake Guentzel. It continued when Sidney Crosby beat defenseman Michal Kempny to a long, high lob from Justin Schultz and jammed a puck between the pads of goalie Braden Holtby to make it 2-2.

That’s when Malkin stepped into the spotlight.

Thirty-one seconds after the tying goal, Nicklas Backstrom tripped Malkin, and the Penguins took to the power play.

Having used split power-play units for the team’s first two advantages of the game, coach Mike Sullivan loaded up his top group on this occasion.

“I keep going back to them because I believe in them,” Sullivan said.

It worked the way it often has over the past four seasons, with Malkin feeding Phil Kessel on the left wing and Kessel passing between the legs of defenseman John Carlson to Crosby for a one-timer from the right faceoff dot.

It worked again in the third period on the play that gave Malkin his 1,000th point. He fed Schultz for a shot from the center point, and Kessel cashed in the rebound to make it 4-2.

“Last game, we absolutely (were) so bad on the power play,” Malkin said. “Tonight, we started on different lines, me and Sid. After first period, coach switch again. If we score on the power play, we help the team win. It’s huge. We have five unbelievable players. Every game, we have a chance to help the team to win.”

It wasn’t the first time Malkin helped spark his team to victory with a show of power-play skill. It surely won’t be the last.

“It’s a crazy life,” Malkin said. “It’s not over. I’ll just work next game. Keep going.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
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.