Penguins rally by weary Winnipeg, 6-5
- Article by: WILL GRAVES
- Associated Press
- January 5, 2014 - 3:00 PM
PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin scored twice in his return from injury and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 on Sunday afternoon.
James Neal added two goals for Pittsburgh, which matched a club record by winning its 12th straight home game. Jussi Jokinen picked up his third goal in two games and Matt Niskanen put in the winner with less than 8 minutes left.
Marc-Andre Fleury 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. 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 that 12-game 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 had been either 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. 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 4 seconds left in the first on a knuckler that Fleury couldn't get a handle on.
All it did 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 followed by scoring twice in 34 seconds to give Pittsburgh the lead.
The Jets, however, would not go away. Kane beat Fleury twice, beating Fleury with a beautiful backhand on a breakaway then emerging from a mad scramble to flip the puck over Fleury with 17 seconds left in the second to put Pittsburgh's home streak in serious jeopardy.
For a few minutes anyway. Malkin tied it at 5 by stuffing in a rebound 8:29 into the third period and Niskanen put the Penguins in front for good with a slap shot from the point that eluded Montoya.
Fleury made a pair of big stops in the final minute, including getting a glove on a wrist shot by Scheifele with 3 seconds remaining.
NOTES: Bylsma is 232-104-26 in four-plus seasons with the Penguins. Johnston went 232-224-80 in two different stints with Pittsburgh ... The Penguins begin a three-game trip through Western Canada on Tuesday in Vancouver. ... The Jets finished their three-game East Coast swing 0-3 ... Penguins D Kris Letang had an assists in 24:31 of ice time after missing 10 games with an elbow injury.
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