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game recap

Sidney Crosby gets 999 in Penguins win

Matt Murray shuts out Canucks; Evgeni Malkin has goal, assist in return from injury

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby had an assist for his 999th NHL point, and Evgeni Malkin had two points in his first game since Jan. 24 for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks at PPG Paints Arena.

It was Crosby's first point in three games in his pursuit of 1,000.

"Sid's line, although I don't think they've gotten rewarded on the score sheet the last few games for what they're doing out there; they've created a lot of opportunities," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "The puck hasn't gone in for them the last couple of games, but certainly, we've really liked the line and what it's been generating offensively."

Chris Kunitz and Jake Guentzel were on Crosby's line because his usual linemates, Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary, are each recovering from an upper-body injury. Carl Hagelin also was unavailable with a concussion.

Malkin's return from a lower-body injury helped fill that void Tuesday.

 

WATCH: All Canucks vs. Penguins highlights

 

"It was a good win for us," said Malkin, who had a goal and an assist. "It's more fun to play the game. … I feel OK. The first game is always hard. It (almost feels like) I'm going to die, but after, I feel so much better. You skate a little bit more and I hope in the next game a little more confidence comes back."

Matt Murray made 29 saves for his fourth NHL shutout and third this season. He has allowed two or fewer goals in four of his past five starts.

"I think we've been pretty sound (defensively) for a while," Murray said. "I think when we play the right way and don't force things on offense, we're a hard team to play against. We don't feed into the other team's transitions and stuff like that. I think that's what we did tonight."

Video: Murray earns Tuesday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Pittsburgh (35-13-7) is in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points, two more than the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers. The Washington Capitals lead the division with 84.

After missing seven games, Malkin gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 5:16 of the second period. Olli Maatta shot into the crease off Malkin's skate, which allowed Malkin to tap the puck past goalie Ryan Miller while holding off Luca Sbisa.

After Jake Guentzel made it 2-0 at 2:27 of the third period, with an assist from Crosby, Malkin assisted on Phil Kessel's goal that made it 3-0 with 5:57 remaining.

Video: VAN@PIT: Malkin uses fancy footwork to open scoring

Malkin is second on the Penguins with 23 goals and 56 points, behind Crosby (30, 61).

Matt Cullen scored to make it 4-0 with 1:57 remaining in the third period.

Vancouver (25-26-6) is four points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference having played two more games.

The Canucks had an opportunity to take the lead when Jack Skille shot into Murray's glove during a 2-on-1 with 4:01 remaining in the first period.

"We had some chances in the second. We had a couple 2-on-1s," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "It just takes one. … If something goes our way, we could've gotten a point."

Video: VAN@PIT: Murray handles consecutive shots in the 1st

 

Goal of the game

After receiving a pass from Guentzel, Crosby returned the puck, which allowed Guentzel to one-time a shot past Miller. The goal was Guentzel's sixth in 18 NHL games.

Video: VAN@PIT: Guentzel scores as Crosby gets 999th point

 

Save of the game

Miller kept the Penguins from taking a 2-0 lead after Crosby passed through Christopher Tanev to Kessel charging toward the net. Kessel went backhand to forehand but shot off Miller's right pad with 8:33 remaining in the second period.

Video: VAN@PIT: Miller turns away Kessel's power-play chance

 

Highlight of the game

Skille had a chance to tie it 1-1 with 3:28 left in the second period, when he went in alone on Murray and took a wrist shot. Murray used his glove to freeze the puck and maintain Pittsburgh's lead.

Video: VAN@PIT: Murray calmly flashes leather on Skille

 

Unsung performance of the game

After Kris Letang was called for delay of game at 4:55 of the third period, Pittsburgh allowed two shots and maintained a 2-0 lead.

 

They said it

"You watch him play. He's a special player. That's why he's one of the top players in the game, and you watch what he does out there, he's special." -- Penguins forward Phil Kessel on Evgeni Malkin

 

"You never know what can happen night to night. It's a one-goal game. Anything's possible. It's just disappointing to watch it fall apart in the third." -- Canucks goalie Ryan Miller

 

Need to know

Vancouver forward Daniel Sedin played his 1,200th NHL game. … Canucks forward Brandon Sutter did not play with an undisclosed injury. It was the second time Sutter could not play in Pittsburgh since the Penguins traded him to the Canucks on July 25, 2015. … Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley had his 200th NHL assist on Malkin's goal.

 

What's next

Canucks: At the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; SN, SN360, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Penguins: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, TSN3, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Crosby records 999th NHL point in Pens' 4-0 win

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