Evgeni Malkin had his first NHL three-goal game and the Penguins put the Toronto Maple Leafs away with three goals in 48 seconds early in the third period, returning indoors for a 6-2 victory last night in Pittsburgh that ran their season-best winning streak to five games.
Sidney Crosby assisted on two of Malkin's goals, Petr Sykora had a goal and an assist, and Ty Conklin turned aside 33 shots to improve to 6-0 as a starter since being called up from the minors following Marc-Andre Fleury's ankle injury.
The Penguins showed no aftereffects from their physically demanding 2-1 Winter Classic victory Tuesday in Buffalo, the NHL's first regular-season outdoor game in the United States. The players talked during a long practice Wednesday of not getting caught up in the emotion and the aura of the showcase game, watched by the largest crowd to attend an NHL game.
Rookie Tyler Kennedy started the Penguins' four-goal third-period flurry by scoring three minutes in, making it 3-1 after Jordan Staal gained control of the puck along the boards. Malkin scored again 37 seconds later and, after the Penguins won the ensuing faceoff, Sykora scored 11 seconds after that, causing Toronto coach Paul Maurice to hastily call a timeout.
Malkin had made it 2-1 with about 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the second period, setting up down low and scoring off Crosby's pass from the high slot. Erik Christensen had scored the tying goal, his sixth, on a wraparound in the opening two minutes of the period.
Malkin missed getting the hat trick when he whiffed from the side of the net during a Penguins power play late in the third, but scored his 18th goal of the season a few seconds later as fans littered the Mellon Arena ice with hats.
Canadiens 6, Lightning 3 - Michael Ryder had two goals and host Montreal scored three times in the third period for a victory over slumping Tampa Bay, which matched a season high with its third six-game winless streak of the season (0-5-1).
After blowing a pair of two-goal leads, Montreal went up, 4-3, at 7:51 of the third when Andrei Kostitsyn put a sharp-angled shot into the net off rookie goalie Karri Ramo's glove for his third goal in two games.
Panthers 4, Islanders 3 - Jassen Cullimore's goal 1:37 into overtime gave Florida the victory in Uniondale, N.Y., snapping a three-game losing streak.
Cullimore ripped a slap shot from the left circle into the top right corner of the net for his first goal of the season.
Predators 5, Oilers 2 - Alexander Radulov scored two goals and Dan Ellis stopped a penalty shot, leading Nashville past Edmonton in a matchup of last-place teams.
J.P. Dumont, Jerred Smithson, and Jason Arnott also scored for the Predators, who have beaten Edmonton six straight times.
Wild 6, Stars 3 - At St. Paul, Marian Gaborik scored twice, Pierre-Marc Bouchard added a goal and two assists, and Brent Burns had three assists to lead Minnesota past Dallas.
Pavol Demitra, Eric Belanger, and Mark Parrish also scored for the Wild, who improved to 1-5 against the top three teams in the Western Conference: Detroit, Dallas, and San Jose. Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots for his 16th win.
Blue Jackets 4, Kings 3 - At Los Angeles, Michael Peca scored twice, including the go-ahead goal with 5:05 left for Columbus, which improved to 19-16-6, the best start in the franchise's seven-year history.
Flames 3, Sharks 2 - Jarome Iginla scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, as visiting Calgary won its fourth straight and snapped San Jose's four-game winning streak.
Canucks 3, Rangers 0 - Roberto Luongo stopped 28 shots for his sixth shutout of the season as host Vancouver rolled past New York.
Coyotes 4, Blackhawks 2 - Mikael Tellqvist stopped 25 shots to help Phoenix beat Chicago for just its seventh win in 18 home games.