Malkin dominates again as Penguins down FlyersFeb 10, 2008 - 10:24 PM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- After Sidney Crosby injured his right ankle last month, there was much doubt whether the Pittsburgh Penguins could stay in the Atlantic Division race. Evgeni Malkin has helped make the transition seamless.
Malkin scored a goal and registered three assists Sunday, recording his fifth consecutive multi-point game to lead the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Last season's Calder Trophy winner, Malkin has led Pittsburgh to a 6-2-2 record since January 18, when Crosby was hurt in a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay.
"We've all seen him in practice everyday," Penguins linemate Ryan Malone said. "We know what type of player he is. He will make all of those amazing plays you see. He's a top-notch player."
Malkin has eight goals and 13 assists in his last 10 games, while the Penguins (31-19-5) have catapulted into first place in the Atlantic for the first time this season.
"He's the hottest guy in the NHL right now," said Flyers center R.J. Umberger, who had two goals. "You've got to stay on top of him and shut him down, and we didn't do that today."
"I never had a (hot-scoring) stretch like this over here in the NHL or back in the Russian league," Malkin said. "It's just thanks to all my linemates that have been making all those great plays for me."
Ty Conklin made 27 saves while Petr Sykora recorded a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, which has 69 points - one ahead of the idle New Jersey Devils (31-21-4) in the division standings.
The win was Pittsburgh's first this season against Philadelphia in five tries after the Penguins swept the season series in 2006-07.
"The Flyers are a team that is not really a pleasure to play against," said Malkin through an interpreter. "When we play with them (on the road), there's always problems like people throwing popcorn at us on the bench.
"I don't really like to play against that team. I don't like that team. There's something a little extra (playing them) than any other team."
The top line of Malkin, Sykora and Malone - which has combined for 30 points over their past five games - got things going at 16:20 of the first after Philadelphia scored early.
Malone found Malkin, who drove into the zone where two defenders converged on him and fed Sykora. Sykora fired a wrist shot from the right slot over the right shoulder of Flyers goalie Martin Biron and under the crossbar.
"That line dictated the game again," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "They feed from each other, they manage the puck well (and) they are reliable defensively. They are a big part of the success we have had."
Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead 38 seconds into the second period with a 4-on-3 goal.
After receiving a pass from Malkin, defenseman Sergei Gonchar flipped what appeared to be a harmless wrist shot on net from the right point. The puck appeared to deflect off a defenseman and into the net for Pittsburgh's ninth power-play goal in its past five games.
"He's really capable of beating guys one-on-one with the puck, which creates the odd-man situation," said Sykora of Malkin. "The whole line is working because everyone's doing their job and that's why we're scoring goals."
With 1:17 left in the second, Pittsburgh's top line struck again. This time, Sykora was standing in the left-wing circle before he found Malkin, who fired a slap shot past Biron and put the Penguins ahead, 3-1.
Umberger scored his second goal of the contest to halve the deficit just 46 seconds into the third period.
Skating right-to-left across the net, Umberger was stopped once by Conklin's pads before collecting the rebound and tucking it in behind him.
The Penguins added insurance at 12:14 in the third when defenseman Kris Letang collected the puck at the right point and walked in before using Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher as a screen to flip a wrist shot into the top-left corner past Biron.
Scott Hartnell's 18th goal of the season added some drama late as the Flyers took advantage of pulling their goaltender to cut the deficit to 4-3. However, Philadelphia could not complete the rally.
- PHILADELPHIA: 3
Feb 10 3:40 PM
3RD PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 18 (MIKE RICHARDS) 19:27 (WITH EXTRA
Flyers vs. PenguinsFeb 10 3:37 PM
3RD PRD: PIT - KRISTOPHER LETANG 4 (EVGENI MALKIN, PETR SYKORA) 12:14
Flyers vs. PenguinsFeb 10 3:22 PM
3RD PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 11 (STEVE DOWNIE, JIM VANDERMEER) 0:46
Flyers vs. PenguinsFeb 10 3:04 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 1
End of 2nd
Feb 10 2:44 PM
2ND PRD: PIT - EVGENI MALKIN 31 (PETR SYKORA, RYAN MALONE) 18:43
Flyers vs. PenguinsFeb 10 2:42 PM
2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) SERGEI GONCHAR 9 (EVGENI MALKIN, KRISTOPHER
Flyers vs. PenguinsFeb 10 2:11 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 1
End of 1st
Feb 10 1:49 PM
1ST PRD: PIT - PETR SYKORA 18 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN MALONE) 16:20
Flyers vs. PenguinsFeb 10 1:39 PM
1ST PRD: PHI - (PP) R.J. UMBERGER 10 (JEFF CARTER, RANDY JONES) 6:34
Flyers vs. PenguinsFeb 10 1:21 PM
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