Monday's National Hockey League Capsules

Jan 15, 2008 - 3:46 AM By PA SportsTicker

PITTSBURGH 4, NY RANGERS 1 --------------------------

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- It's been quite a month for Ty Conklin.

Conklin made a career-high 43 saves and Evgeni Malkin notched his second career hat trick to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 triumph over the New York Rangers on Monday night.

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar added a goal and set up another and Sidney Crosby had two assists for the Penguins, who are 9-0-1 over their last 10 contests and moved into a tie with the New Jersey Devils atop the Atlantic Division with 55 points.

Since being recalled on December 7, 2007, after starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury suffered an ankle injury, Conklin has been nothing short of excellent for Pittsburgh. The 31-year-old Conklin won his first nine starts before suffering his first defeat, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday.

Conklin bounced back nicely, turning aside 14 shots in the first period, 17 more in next and 12 in the third.

Malkin supplied Conklin with all the offense he would need in the opening session.

The Penguins started the scoring at the 3:31 mark when the reigning Calder Trophy recipient scored on the power play. Malkin darted out of the corner and skated untouched towards the net where he took a hard wrist shot that beat Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to give the Penguins an early 1-0 lead.

Pittsburgh would strike again just over three minutes later when Crosby took a long lead pass from defenseman Rob Scuderi and then split the New York defense and threw a wrist shot on net that trickled behind Lundqvist. Malkin pounced on the rebound and put the puck into the wide-open net at 6:33.

Malkin would pick up his second hat trick of the month when he sent shot from center ice into the empty net with 24 seconds left in the contest. The 21-year-old Russian also scored three goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 3.

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