Home Pittsburgh Sports College Basketball Malkin takes over as Pens stop Lightning 6-3

Malkin takes over as Pens stop Lightning 6-3

Evgeni Malkin notched a natural hat trick and added a pair of assists, James Neal chipped in with two goals and the Penguins won their second in a row in Florida, topping the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 on Sunday afternoon.

The Penguins won their second straight game following a six-game losing streak courtesy of stellar offensive play by Malkin and Neal. Malkin’s natural hat-trick came in the third period after the Lightning tied the game, and both of Neal’s goals came on the power-play. The quick scoring made the Penguins’ small defensive lapse in the third period irrelevant as they put away the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 6-3.

The Pens got off to a strong start against the Lightning. An early hooking penalty against Steven Stamkos gave the Pens a power-play only three minutes into the game. After keeping complete control of the puck in the offensive zone, the Pens finally capitalized. Paul Martin fed the puck to James Neal deep in the zone near the goal line. Neal, nearly over the goal line in the corner, threw the puck on net and it found its way through the five-hole of Matheiu Garon to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

Richard Park netted the Penguins second goal with just over nine minutes to go in the first. Park made a nifty, between-the-legs deke coming off the right side boards, skated into the slot and fired a blistering snap shot past Garon for a 2-0 lead.

After a scoreless second period, the third was packed full of offense. James Neal made it 3-0 Penguins with an absolutely magnificent one-timer past Garon, assisted by Malkin just over 30 seconds into the third period.

A temporary lapse in the Penguins defense brought the Lightning back into the game. The Lightning struck for three goals under five minutes early in the third period. Goals by Matt Gilroy, Ryan Malone and Teddy Purcell evened the score at 3-3 with 13 minutes left in the game.

But the Penguins didn’t back down, least of all, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin netted two goals within two minutes to put the Pens back up 5-3. Malkin’s first goal came on the power-play, a backhand goal past Garon’s glove side off an assist by Neal. Malkin’s second goal was incredible.

Catching the Lightning on a bad change, Brooks Orpik hit a streaking Malkin with a cross-ice pass while skating up the left side of the ice. Malkin cut back toward the goal and put in a diving back-hand past Garon after being tripped up near the crease.

Malkin capped off his hat trick with an empty net goal with one minute remaining in the game, putting the final score at 6-3.

The Penguins look to continue rebounding from their losing streak on Jan. 17 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. The game is set to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center.

Three Stars:
1. Evgeni Malkin
2. James Neal
3. Vincent Lecavalier


PIT: James Neal (23, 24), Richard Park (3), Evgeni Malkin (19, 20, 21)
TB: Matt Gilroy (1), Ryan Malone (9), Teddy Purcell (9)
PIT: Paul Martin, Evgeni Malkin (2), Steve Sullivan, Brooks Orpik
TB: Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier (2), Bruno Gervais

In the Net:
PIT: Marc-Andre Fleury (W) 17-20
TB: Mathieu Garon (L) 38-44

Special Teams:
PIT: 2-5
TB: 1-1

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