Malkin, Crosby, Ekman lift Penguins to third straight winOct 25, 2006 - 1:54 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- It's only a three-game winning streak, but for the Pittsburgh Penguins, that's a big deal.
Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Nils Ekman each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins downed the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, for their third straight victory.
The last time Pittsburgh won three consecutive games was from March 19-23, 2004.
Pittsburgh led, 3-2, midway through the third period when Malkin scored his fourth goal in his fourth NHL game. The second overall pick in 2004 streaked toward New Jersey's net, deked goaltender Martin Brodeur and slid a backhand past him.
"I came right from the bench and I had a lot of energy," Malkin said. "I saw Sidney (Crosby) and a lot of guys on their team wanting to change. He made a pass, a nice pass. He saw me there and it was just me and the defender. ... I just took the puck past him and scored."
Crosby, the first overall pick in 2005, was impressed with Malkin's tally.
"It was a spectacular goal," he said. "We hope we see a lot more of those."
"It was just an obvious play," Brodeur said. "You knew it was going to happen with the setup like that with these two guys. It was just an unbelievable play to score a goal there."
After the Devils' Scott Gomez and Ekman traded first-period goals, the Penguins pulled away with two goals in just over three minutes early in the second. Crosby gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at 1:26 when he streaked in, took a pass from Malkin down low and beat Brodeur.
Jordan Staal scored the eventual game-winner, giving the Penguins a 3-1 lead at 4:53 when he took a pass from Ekman on a three-way passing play with Mark Recchi.
"We're gaining a lot more confidence as the games go on, and I think we are getting a lot more chemistry out there," said Staal, the second overall selection this year. "The ball is really starting rolling for us. We have to keep that going and get more wins."
Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves, while Brodeur finished with 21 for New Jersey, which has been outscored 16-6 during its losing streak..
"We're not playing well at all," Brodeur said. "We had a good start to the season and got back to .500, and that's not where we want to be."
The Devils, who has lost three straight, went 0-for-6 on the power play. The Penguins were 0-for-3 with the extra skater.
Pittsburgh looks to extend its winning streak to four games at Philadelphia on Saturday. Crosby thinks the team will be able to keep things in perspective.
"It's nice," Crosby said of the winning streak. "We know it's early, but we still realize that every game counts. We don't want to follow the standings too much. We have to worry about ourselves. But first place is nice and we'll continue to take it a game at a time and focus on the next one."
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