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game recap

Kessel, Malkin power Penguins past Coyotes

Each scores goal, has two assists to lift Pittsburgh to first win in three games

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel have thrived playing alongside one another as the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins forwards have struggled offensively.

That continued Tuesday, when Malkin and Kessel each had a goal and two assists to help the Penguins defeat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 at PPG Paints Arena.


[WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Penguins highlights]


Malkin gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead 3:07 into the first period after he had an assist on Justin Schultz's goal 59 seconds into the game. He also set up Kessel's power-play goal at 6:06 of the third period.

Malkin said he was satisfied with his line's production, which included an assist for left wing Jake Guentzel, but would like to build on it further.

"It's just one game," said Malkin, whose seven goals lead the Penguins. "We're excited to play together, but we need to understand it's one game. It's important, but now, we need to play [together] more. Next game against Washington, against Nashville, same level.

"We understood each other pretty well tonight, but it's not just one game. We have to play better and better every game."

Video: ARI@PIT: Schultz scores off feed from Malkin

Kessel's 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) lead the Penguins, who are averaging 2.63 goals per game after finishing No. 1 in the NHL at 3.39 last season.

Pittsburgh (9-6-2), coming off a 1-3-1 road trip, scored more than two goals for the second time in its past nine games. Arizona (2-13-2) is 1-8-1 on the road.

After failing to score more than one even-strength goal in each of their past five games, the Penguins scored two in the first 3:07 of the first period to take a 2-0 lead.

Schultz opened the scoring by one-timing a pass from Malkin below the left face-off circle. The sharp-angled shot deflected off goalie Antti Raanta's right skate and into the net for Schultz's second goal of the season, first since Pittsburgh's season-opening 5-4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 4.

Schultz played 20:31 on 24 shifts after missing the previous six games with a concussion sustained Oct. 24 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Malkin batted in a rebound off a shot from Kessel to make it 2-0.

"[Scoring 5-on-5] certainly improves your chances of winning exponentially," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We've put probably four games together now where we've generated a significant amount of chances 5-on-5. So, even tonight, we had a lot of real high-quality chances that we didn't convert on.

Video: ARI@PIT: Murray denies Demers in the 1st

"We really liked a lot of our 5-on-5 game. I thought we did a pretty good job controlling territory."

Tobias Rieder cut the Penguins lead to 2-1 when he beat goalie Matt Murray with a snap shot 26 seconds into the third period. He also scored Arizona's previous goal in Pittsburgh, which came at 18:09 of the third period in a 3-2 loss March 28, 2015.

The Penguins had not allowed a goal to the Coyotes at home for 162:17 before Rieder scored.

Rieder had one assist in his previous 13 games.

"I needed that," Rieder said. "It felt good, but it wasn't enough for a point or for a win tonight. … Sometimes you just feel it. You get the bounces. The puck is your friend and your legs are just moving. Yeah, I just felt it."

Kessel answered 5:40 later by tapping a rebound off a shot from Malkin past Raanta to extend the lead to 3-1.

Murray made 24 saves for Pittsburgh. Raanta had 34.

Video: ARI@PIT: Rieder goes top shelf for goal


Goal of the game

Kessel's goal at 6:06 of the third period.

Video: ARI@PIT: Kessel knocks home rebound for a goal


Save of the game

Murray stopping Derek Stepan's backhand at 14:32 of the second period.

Video: ARI@PIT: Murray makes nice save to deny Stepan


Highlight of the game

Malkin's goal at 3:07 of the first period.

Video: ARI@PIT: Malkin bats rebound into the net


They said it

"I felt better as the game went on. It takes a little bit to get up to game speed. You can't train or condition for a game, so it's good to get this one and get back into it." -- Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz on returning after missing six games with a concussion


"Been here a couple months and one thing I noticed, I don't want us to be a perimeter team. You have to go to the net. You have to be good along the walls. That's something that we as an organization, we have to get better at. I have to teach it better because you can't win in this league unless you have people that go to the net or you win battles along the wall." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet


Video: ARI@PIT: Pens fans pay tribute to Tocchet


Need to know

Tocchet was coaching against the Penguins for the first time since he was an assistant for their Stanley Cup championship runs the past two seasons. … Pittsburgh forward Riley Sheahan played his 300th NHL game. He has 98 points (38 goals, 60 assists) in seven seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and Penguins. … Penguins center Sidney Crosby hasn't scored a goal in nine games. He has three assists in that span.


What's next

Coyotes: At the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-A, NHL.TV)

Penguins: At the Washington Capitals on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, SN, NBCSWA, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)


Video: Malkin earns three points in win vs. Coyotes

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