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Malkin Leads the Pens to Victory

by Brittany Goncar / Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin always seems to shine when the Penguins need him the most. The center made his presence known in the Penguins’ 8-5 win Saturday against Winnipeg at CONSOL Energy Center by tying a career high with five points.

Malkin, who was also appearing in his 400th game, scored his 30th goal of the year and added four assists. His incredible performance pushed  his NHL-leading point total to 67.

“I feel great,” Malkin said. “We have a great team.”

Malkin’s first assist came as a result of a designed faceoff play. He won the draw and pushed the puck back to linemate James Neal atop the circle. Neal ratcheted a shot past Ondre Pavelec to tie the game at 2-2.

“It works,” Malkin said of the play. “I try to win, but it doesn’t work every time. A couple times we win and Neal has a great shot.”

 Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang paired up for a 2-on-1 rush. Malkin slipped a pass to Letang, who scored to make it a 4-2 game.

Malkin scored the fifth goal of the game, and hit the 30-goal plateau for the first time since 2008-09 – the same year he won the league’s scoring title, with a beautiful breakaway move.

It was a great pass from Chris Kunitz that sprung Malkin for the breakaway. The combo of Kunitz-Malkin-Neal combined for 11 points in the game.

“They’re a pretty good line,” Letang said. “You put the best player in the league, a guy that shoots and most of the pucks go in and ‘Kuni,’ he’s a great asset to that line. He’s bringing energy. He’s skating and he still has a lot of skill.

“It’s a great line. It’s tough to step them. Hopefully, they keep going like this.”
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