Evgeni Malkin scored twice and added two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins roared back from an early deficit to blow past the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Malkin’s 28th career four-point game — the fourth-most among all active players — helped spark the Penguins after Pittsburgh spotted the Canucks a three-goal lead. Malkin started the comeback with Pittsburgh’s first power-play goal in nearly two weeks and gave the Penguins the lead after executing a pretty give-and-go with Jason Zucker.
Zucker, Sidney Crosby and Rickard Rakell also scored for Pittsburgh, which has won two straight following a six-game losing streak. Dustin Tokarski came in after Casey DeSmith was pulled 7:05 into the first period. Tokarski made 18 saves to pick up his first victory since April while playing for Buffalo.
Conor Garland, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes scored during a 2:19 span of the first period to chase DeSmith. Travis Dermott pulled the Canucks within a goal with 7:08 to play but Vancouver couldn’t draw even while losing for the fifth time in six games. Spencer Martin made 31 stops but couldn’t withstand Pittsburgh’s emphatic response to drop his fourth straight start.
Pittsburgh erased the deficit by the end of an opening period in which it pumped 20 shots at Martin. Three of them slipped through, a one-timer from Malkin, a pretty redirect off a Brian Dumoulin feed by Crosby and a snapshot by Zucker after a faceoff win by Malkin.
The frenetic pace eased in the second period, but Malkin put the Penguins in front at the end of a slick sequence in which he stole an outlet pass at the Vancouver blue line, fed it to Zucker and then darted to the net. Zucker gave it back to Malkin as he crossed in front of Martin.
Tokarski made a brilliant toe save on Elias Pettersson after Pettersson broke in alone shorthanded on a breakaway. Play continued and seconds later Rakell deposited his 14th of the season by pouncing on a rebound to make it 5-3.
Penguins D Kris Letang remains in Montreal following the death of his father, Claude Fouquet, earlier this month. Letang’s teammates traveled to Montreal on Monday to attend Fouquet’s funeral following a win in Arizona on Sunday night.
“He’s been in this organization for a long time, so I think it was the least we could do to (pay) it back for everything that he did for us and everything that he’s still doing for us,” Pittsburgh defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph said. “It was a no-brainer for us, and we’re all happy to be there for him.”
NOTES: Only Crosby (37), Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (32) and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (30) have more four-point games among active players than Malkin. ... Crosby’s goal gave him 1,456 career points, tied with Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne for 17th on the NHL’s all-time list.
Canucks: Visit Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Penguins: Host Winnipeg on Friday.
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