Malkin’s hat trick powers Penguins to 11-2 romp over Detroit

PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin had his 15th career hat trick and added an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins drilled the reeling Detroit Red Wings 11-2 on Sunday night.

Sidney Crosby, Kasperi Kapanen, Jeff Carter, Teddy Blueger, Danton Heinen, Brian Boyle and recently acquired Rickard Rakell also scored for the Penguins, who needed less than 30 minutes to take a 6-0 lead on their way to their first 11-goal game in nearly 30 years. Tristan Jarry made 33 saves to win for the sixth time in his last seven starts.

Pittsburgh bounced back from a listless loss to the New York Rangers on Friday by overwhelming the Red Wings, showcasing their firepower in the process by putting up the franchise’s first 11-goal game since an 11-5 win over Philadelphia on Nov. 16, 1993.

The Penguins also stayed one point ahead of the Rangers for second place in the tight Metropolitan Division. New York visits PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.

Dylan Larkin scored his 28th goal for Detroit and Jakub Vrana added his sixth, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Red Wings lost for the ninth time in 11 games. Alex Nedeljkovic absorbed most of Pittsburgh’s early onslaught, giving up four goals before being replaced by Calvin Pickard after Carter’s short-handed goal 3:18 into the second made it 4-0.

Pickard fared no better, giving up four goals on 13 shots before exiting in the third period after a collision with Rakell, forcing Nedeljkovic to come back in. He fared no better the second time around than he did the first, ultimately allowing seven goals on 22 total shots faced.

Two days after being outplayed from the start by the Rangers, Pittsburgh responded by showcasing the kind of depth they’ll need if they want to make a deep playoff run.

The Penguins added Rakell at the deadline last week in hopes of taking some of the scoring pressure off of Crosby and Malkin. While the two superstars had little trouble finding the net against Detroit, they had plenty of help. Five of Pittsburgh’s goals came from players in the bottom six: Carter, Heinen, Kapanen, Blueger and Boyle.

Kapanen scored his second goal in six games by starting the deluge with a pretty move that left him alone with Nedeljkovic. One deke and Kapanen had little trouble tapping the puck into the empty net for his 11th goal just 4:16 in.

The ease with which Kapanen scored was a sign of things to come. Blueger doubled the lead 14:23 into the first with a shot off the rush. Malkin’s first goal – a slap shot on the power play directly after a faceoff – made it 3-0 less than 2 minutes into the second. Carter’s short-handed goal – just the third of the season by Pittsburgh – pushed it to 4-0 and chased Nedeljkovic.

Rust’s goal after Pickard entered also gave Malkin 696 career assists, tied with Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov for the most by a Russian-born player.

Goals late in the second by Larkin and Vrana – Vrana’s on a pretty play in which he stripped Pittsburgh defenseman Mike Matheson and quickly rifled a shot past Jarry – briefly gave the Red Wings life, but only briefly. Crosby’s 24th goal of the season off a nice cross-ice feed from Evan Rodrigues just 77 seconds after Vrana’s score added more fuel to an already roaring fire.

UP NEXT

Red Wings: Get a couple of days off to recover before hosting the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Penguins: Try to exact a bit of revenge on the Rangers on Tuesday night.

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

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    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.