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Malkin's goal leads Penguins past Oilers

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin scored a goal against the Edmonton Oilers for the first time in his career to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 win Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center.

After Paul Martin fanned on a shot at the point on a power play, the puck slid to Malkin alone in the faceoff circle and he snapped a shot past Oilers goalie Jason LaBarbera from one knee to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead 7:20 into the third period.

Sidney Crosby earned his third assist of the night and now has 12 points on the season, matching his longest point streak to begin a season. He began the 2005-06 season with a six-game point streak from Oct. 5-Oct. 15, 2005. Pittsburgh improved to 5-1-0 with the win.

He also extended his point streak against Canadian teams to 15 games, dating back to March 28, 2010. Crosby has 31 points over the course of the streak.

"Our guys capitalized on some chances and found ways to put it in the back of the net," Crosby said. "We generated some good chances tonight and it was nice to get it going."

Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers, who went back to LaBarbera despite the fact he also played in Monday night's 4-2 loss at Washington. LaBarbera finished with 25 saves.

LaBarbera said he was "in no man's land" on Malkin's game-winning goal. Oilers coach Dallas Eakins agreed.

"To have done the job so far and everything's going all right for us and it's a fanned shot and it goes right to the most dangerous guy on the ice, the hockey gods aren't lined up for us right now," Eakins said. "We'll do an exorcism and see if they give us more leeway."

The Penguins' defense played well in front of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (20 saves) in the third period, allowing just three shots. Pittsburgh's penalty kill remained perfect on the season by killing Edmonton's three power plays.

The Oilers put pressure on Pittsburgh by putting together one of their more impressive periods of the season in the second, scoring two goals and outshooting Pittsburgh 15-9.

"It was probably one of the more complete [games we've played]," Eakins said. "I love that our guys were in the fight. We weathered a storm early from Pittsburgh. They came out flying here in their own building and we made some slight adjustments in between the first and second.

"That's about as complete a game, I guess, that we've had. I like that our guys weren't shying away from the adversity that we've gone through here."

Hemsky scored his second goal of the season to tie the game 1-1. Jeff Petry fired a shot off the post and Hemsky shoveled the puck past Fleury 1:39 into the period.

Chris Kunitz reestablished the Penguins' lead 8:01 later. Pascal Dupuis' shot trickled through LaBarbera's equipment, and Kunitz and Crosby converged on the puck as it crept toward the goal line.

Kunitz was credited with the goal, although Crosby joked that, "we might have to check the replay to see who got it" after the game.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Kunitz's goal was one of the more important moments of the game.

"I thought the goal in the second period was a big goal for us," Bylsma said. "They were taking the play to us or a lot of that period at that point in time and we needed a big shift and we got it with the defensive zone draw and turned it into that play going to he net."

But Edmonton continued to control the action, leading to Eberle's goal that tied the game 2-2 heading into the third period.

Fleury made a diving save on Taylor Hall, but couldn't recover to stop Eberle from backhanding the puck into the top of Pittsburgh's net with 4:01 left in the period.

The Penguins jumped on Edmonton early by taking a 1-0 lead 3:08 into the first. Dupuis cycled the puck behind the net to Crosby, who passed it back to Dupuis in front of the net. Dupuis sent a shot through Kunitz's screen and LaBarbera's five-hole for his second goal of the season.

The Penguins weren't able to extend their lead in the period, despite outshooting the Oilers 15-4.

Fleury, though, was forced to make a few key saves to preserve Pittsburgh's one-goal lead heading into intermission. Nail Yakupov sent Justin Schultz sprinting toward Fleury alone 12:59 into the period, but Fleury made a sprawling save.

LaBarbera was the first Edmonton goalie to surrender less than four goals in a game this season, but wasn't pleased with his performance.

"It wasn't good enough," LaBarbera said. "We didn't win. So, it's about wins and losses and we have to find a way to win games. That's the bottom line. I think every one of us needs to step it up a bit more and just find a way to get a win."

Yakupov returned to the lineup after sitting out the past two games as a healthy scratch. The No. 1 pick at the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov still has not scored a point in five games this season.

"He did the simple things that we asked of him," Eakins said. "We wanted him to not get caught from behind and simply backcheck hard through the middle. So, he did all that and he brought energy.

"So, even though he wasn't rewarded on the score sheet, I was happy with his play."

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