The Pittsburgh Penguins enjoyed a brief 5-on-3 power play midway through the first period against the L.A. Kings and Chris Kunitz buried his fourth of the season.
On the goal, Evgeni Malkin picked up his 400th career assist with a nice slap pass to Kunitz at the side of the net.
Malkin becomes the fifth player in franchise history to join the 400 assist club.
Penguins greats Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis reached the milestone while in a Pens sweater.
Current captain Sidney Crosby has also reached 400 assist mark in his career.
The New Jersey Devils got off to a fast start tonight and while the Pittsburgh Penguins bounced back in the first period, New Jersey still took a 3-1 lead.
Then the floodgates opened and Devils goaltender Cory Schneider was the victim.
It started with a top-shelf goal from Evgeni Malkin while Pittsburgh had a 5-on-3 advantage:
The Penguins followed that up with three goals in just over six minutes courtesy of Patric Hornqvist, Craig Adams, and Sidney Crosby. Adams’ goal in particular was special given that it was just his 55th marker in 889 career games and he managed to beat Schneider on a breakaway:
Schneider only stopped 18 of 23 shots tonight. He was replaced by Scott Clemmensen for the third period, but the backup goaltender wasn’t able to keep the Penguins at bay either.
James Neal and the Nashville Predators came into Saturday’s home game hot, but the Pittsburgh Penguins doused that fire with a smothering 3-0 win.
With so much focus on Neal and Patric Hornqvist (sorry, Nick Spaling), Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury ended up stealing the headlines … although Hornqvist did get an assist.
The sweetest goal probably came when Crosby set up Malkin for a beautiful power-play goal, one of two man-advantage markers as Pittsburgh put the game away in the third period:
As well as Neal is fitting in with Nashville, seeing a play like that by his former Pittsburgh centers has to burn a bit. Fleury earned his first shutout of 2014-15 and 29th of his career, though he enjoyed a few bounces against his former teammate:
With this win, the Penguins end a two-game losing streak and improve to 4-2-1. Meanwhile, Nashville’s days of being undefeated in regulation are over, as they fall to 5-1-2.
The Predators get a little time to gather themselves for what is likely to be a big test to their legitimacy. Starting on Wednesday, they play six straight road games and seven of eight away from Bridgestone Arena.
If Nashville is still among the West’s best in mid-November, then the Predators’ critics will be quieter. The Penguins gave them some ammo tonight, though.
Want more info? Here’s an infographic from the Penguins:
The Pittsburgh Penguins seemed like they had a victory sealed quite a few times against the Red Wings on Thursday, yet Detroit’s biggest stars pulled off a stunning comeback to win 4-3 in OT instead.
The Red Wings scored two goals in a two-minute span with their net empty to send the game to overtime. After some promising chances in extended play, Justin Abdelkader fired home the game-winner, handing the Penguins two defeats on a tough back-to-back set.
Sidney Crosby had a breakaway opportunity to make it 4-1 for Pittsburgh, but Jimmy Howard made a huge stop to keep Detroit within striking distance:
Mike Babcock removed Howard from the net with a healthy amount of time left in the third period, which turned out to be a deft move (which might prompt a nod to Patrick Roy). Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk took over the game from there.
First, Zetterberg made it 3-2 on this blistering shot:
Evgeni Malkin, Blake Comeau and Pascal Dupuis had a few chances to end the rush with sustained possession in Detroit’s zone with an empty net, yet they couldn’t score. The Red Wings took advantage when Datsyuk made an unreal pass – and an audacious decision not to shoot – which opened things up for Kronwall’s second goal and third point of the night:
Abdelkader had a great night of his own, with the biggest moment coming when he scored the overtime clincher:
There’s some solid logic to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ experiment with Evgeni Malkin on the wing.
While he’s enjoying cushy offensive zone starts as usual, having a center like Brandon Sutter doing the “dirty work” theoretically opens things up even more for Malkin. The 28-year-old also isn’t the most dominant guy in the faceoff circle, only winning 48.8 percent of his draws last season.
Still, such thinking can end up being similar to the debate regarding playing Alex Ovechkin at RW instead of his familiar LW spot: sometimes it’s best just to leave a star player where he’s comfortable.
NHL.com’s Wes Crosby reports that Malkin is expected to center a line with Pascal Dupuis and Blake Comeau as Pittsburgh ends a back-to-back set against the Detroit Red Wings tonight. This likely bumps Sutter down to his typical third-line center spot.
Malkin at RW certainly wasn’t a disaster, mind you; he managed eight points in five games (although only three of those came at even-strength). Going back to center might mean that the puck will be on his stick more often, however, which is rarely a bad thing.
The biggest hurdle may be linemate-related, though, really. While Patric Hornqvist has been brilliant alongside Sidney Crosby, it’s easy to see why “Geno” misses his buddy James Neal.