Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby both lit
the lamp as the Pittsburgh Penguins took possession of first place in the
Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Olli Maatta, Deryk Engelland, Pascal Dupuis and Jussi Jokinen supplied the
assists on the two goals, while Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 32-of-33 shots
as the Penguins won for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Matt Calvert contributed the Blue Jackets' lone goal late in the third period.
Curtis McElhinney allowed two goals on 30 shots as Pittsburgh snapped
Columbus' two-game win streak.
After a scoreless first, Malkin raced through the neutral zone and up the
right wing with the puck on his backhand. He breezed by Columbus defenseman
Fedor Tyutin and moved it to his forehand to beat McElhinney 4:16 into the
"I don't know if it was just a broken play or what, but you have an elite guy
like that coming with a head of steam," McElhinney said. "He's got a lot of
options and obviously the one I tried against him didn't work.
Malkin, who missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, ended a Blue
Jackets' shutout streak that spanned four games and an overall time of 162:01.
Pittsburgh added another goal in the third. Maatta jumped up on the play in
the neutral zone and passed to Dupuis on the right wing. Dupuis then threw the
puck on net, where Crosby and Columbus' Nick Foligno battled for it. The puck
went off Crosby and into the net.
Calvert cut the lead in half with 56.5 seconds left after the Blue Jackets
pulled McElhinney. Mark Letestu took the puck off the boards at the left side
of the net and dished it back to Calvert, who was there to quickly put the
puck past Fleury.
Both teams were missing key players. Reigning Vezina trophy winner Sergei
Bobrovsky was not in goal for Columbus due to a strained groin, while
Pittsburgh did not have suspended forward James Neal and defenseman Brooks
Orpik, who was placed on injured reserve Monday due to a head injury.
Neal was handed a five-game suspension for kneeing Boston's Brad Marchand in
the head during Saturday's game against the Bruins.
"It's tough [to not have Neal for five games]," Crosby said. "Especially after
you [Neal] battle through an injury for quite a bit and came back as strong as
he did. It's tough for him watching, it's tough for us losing him for a bit of
time here, but we'll just try to keep moving forward."
Malkin has points in each of his last 10 games, while Crosby is riding a four-
game point streak ... The Penguins have won four straight games over the Blue
Jackets and are now 8-1-1 in their last 10 meetings with Columbus.
The Sports Network