Playing in his first game in more than seven months, Evgeni Malkin
had a goal and an assist and the Pittsburgh Penguins
beat the Detroit Red Wings
3-2 at the Consol Energy Center on Wednesday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Malkin, a former NHL scoring champion, didn't play after Feb. 5 when he tore an ACL and joined star teammate Sidney Crosby
on the sideline down the stretch and into the playoffs.
"He was at a dominant level," Pens coach Dan Bylsma said of Malkin. "His skating looked good. He was strong, powerful on the puck. To get fans out of their seats in an exhibition game three or four times playing the right way, driving to the net, good with the puck, hunting the puck, it was a pretty good first game back from injury."
and Matt Niskanen
also scored for Pittsburgh. Niklas Kronwall
and Jiri Hudler
scored for the Red Wings and Pavel Datsyuk
had two assists.
Crosby has not been cleared for contact workouts due to a concussion.
Malkin set up the first goal of the game at 11:40 of the opening period with a nifty pass. He possessed the puck along the near half wall and whipped a hard, backhand-saucer pass right on to the tape of Kunitz, who beat Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard
under the arm.
Malkin scored his first goal of the preseason midway through the second, when he took a pass entering the Detroit zone, using his body to protect the puck from defender Garnet Exelby
. Malkin then flipped the puck from his backhand to his forehand and then faked a pass before ripping a shot past Howard to give the Pens a 2-1 lead.
"It's just an exhibition game, but it's a pretty good feeling," Malkin said. "We played pretty good. It was a good test. I liked how we played."
and Brooks Orpik
did not play for Pittsburgh, while Nicklas Lidstrom
and Henrik Zetterberg
didn't dress for Detroit.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.