Evgeni Malkin scored twice and added an assist for his third consecutive three-point game as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 Sunday night.
David Perron, Derrick Pouliot and Steve Downie had the other Penguins goals.
Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang each had two assists in the win.
With the win, the Penguins have now won four straight games. Pittsburgh also avoided a third straight loss against Columbus this season.
Crosby and Malkin are now tied with 64 points one back of Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, New York Islanders captain John Tavares and Flyers’ forward Jakub Voracek for the league-lead.
“I thought there was a time two weeks ago when [Malkin] had a little bit of a lapse in his game,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said per NHL.com. “Other than that, I have not seen it all year. I’ve seen a lot of intensity in his game, and the more emotion and intensity he has in the game, the better his game is. You saw it right away. You can see it early in the game with him. He gets out there, he’s skating.
“He’s hard on the loose pucks, he’s lifting sticks, and when he’s engaged like that in the game as he has been, he can be a dominant player like he was tonight.”
Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 29-13-6 with a 22-save performance.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist in the loss. James Wisniewski and Nick Foligno had the others for the Jackets.
Curtis McElhinney made 36 saves in the loss.