A huge December vaulted Evgeni Malkin to the top of the NHL scoring race, and it earned the Penguins' star NHL Second Star of the month honors.
Malkin paced all NHL players in December with 21 points (7G-14A), while his 14 assists were tied with Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman for most in the league.
His run moved Malkin into a first-place tie with Edmonton's Connor McDavid for the NHL's overall scoring lead this season with 43 points, one more than teammate Sidney Crosby (42 points).
Malkin had points in 11 of his 15 games in the month of December, including eight multiple-point efforts.
On December 27 at New Jersey, Malkin's first-period power-play goal was his 800th NHL point, making him the ninth Russian-born player, and second active, to reach that milestone.
Malkin and the Penguins compiled a 12-1-2 record in December, just the fourth time in club history that Pittsburgh has won that many games within a calendar month.
Pittsburgh's trio of Malkin (21 points), Sidney Crosby (20 points) and Justin Schultz (18 points) ranked as the NHL's top-three scorers for the month of December. Phil Kessel was tied for fourth with 17 points.
Pittsburgh is currently in the middle of its bye week. The Penguins resume play on Sunday, January 8 at 5 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PPG Paints Arena.