Evgeni Malkin finished with two goals and two assists while Phil Kessel added two goals and one assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins scored four times in the third period en route to a 7-4 victory over the Washington Capitals Friday night.
The third period began in a 3-3 tie before Malkin and Alex Ovechkin exchanged goals 49 seconds apart in the second minute.
Bryan Rust then scored the go-ahead goal at 6:08 of the period with Kessel making it 6-4 thanks to his score at 7:59. Malkin and Carl Hagelin assisted on the goal, Kessel’s second of the game.
Malkin scored his second goal at the 10-minute mark for a 7-4 lead.
This was the first time the teams have played since Nov. 10, and the victory extended Pittsburgh’s winning streak to four games.
Pittsburgh’s offense has been on a roll throughout the month of January. That’s why Malkin was named the NHL’s First Star for January - he scored 12 goals in those 31 days.
He finished the month with 19 points, behind only teammate Sidney Crosby in points (21, thanks to three goals and 18 assists).
Malkin and Crosby’s strong performances in January helped the Penguins rally from a slow start and go 9-3-0 in the month. The Penguins now have pulled to within five points of Washington in the Metropolitan Division.
Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Riley Sheahan all handed out two assists in the victory. Goalie Matt Murray made 29 saves.
The Penguins took leads of 2-0 and 3-1 early but couldn’t hold on. Kessel and Hagelin (one goal, one assist) both scored in the first period for Pittsburgh before Ovechkin got a late goal that made it 2-1.
Patric Hornqvist scored from between the circles just 26 seconds into the second period and put the Penguins up, 3-1.
However, Washington answered with two later in the period on goals from Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov which tied the game at 3-3.
That set up the third-period offensive outburst from the Penguins, and Washington coach Barry Trotz yanked starting goalie Braden Holtby for Philipp Grubauer after the sixth goal.
Ovechkin led the Capitals with two goals and one assist.
--Field Level Media