The Pittsburgh Penguins head into the all-star break in style.
Evgeni Malkin's five points and Mark Recchi's seventh-career hat-trick fueled the Penguins to an 8-2 romp Saturday night over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Mellon Arena.
"It was a must-win game for us. We didn't finish the last game against Boston the way we should have and lost," said Malkin, who recorded the first five-point game of his NHL career. "Before the break, it's a great win. We got effort from the entire team and the entire team played great."
Recchi recorded his three goals in a span of 16:57 from the end of the first period until the middle of the second. He added an assist for a four-point night.
"They don't come very often for me. You see guys like Sid and Geno having big nights, of course you're going to take it and run with it," Recchi said with a smile. "It was a fun night and I got the first one off my foot and kind of rolled from there."
The Penguins (21-17-8) had some fun on the power-play, too. They converted 5 of 10 opportunities.
"We had a good night. Our power play was a big part of that and our defense played really solid and gave us a chance to get those goals when we had the opportunities. I think from the goalie-out everyone played solid," said Sidney Crosby, who had a goal and two assists. "It was nice to get those power-play goals. We were getting some bounces and some breaks, so it was nice. We didn't let up - we kept our feet on the gas. We did a great job just putting our chances in the net."
Jeff O'Neill tallied a power-play goal 3:19 into the game to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.
Jordan Staal knotted the game at 1-all 4:51 into the game. Malkin circled around the near side of the net from the end boards and fired a cross-crease pass to Staal, who chipped the puck into the goal. Michel Ouellet had the other assist.
Jarkko Ruutu tallied on a penalty shot with 11:34 left in the first period. He faked a shot and slid the puck around Andrew Raycroft's left leg pad.
Recchi deflected Ryan Whitney's shot past Raycroft with 2:32 left in the first period for a power-play goal and a 3-1 Penguins lead. Malkin got the other assist.
Recchi made it 4-1 with 8:52 left in the second period when he one-timed Crosby's pass past Raycroft for a power-play goal. Crosby took a Sergei Gonchar pass and circled from the far face-off circle all the way around to the near side and almost near the goal line before he flipped a pass to Recchi.
Recchi completed the hat-trick with 5:35 to go in the second period. On a two-man advantage, Recchi slammed in a Crosby pass for his seventh-career hat-trick. Crosby, all alone on the near side, fired a pass to Recchi, who was all alone on the far post. Gonchar added the other assist.
Crosby tallied 4:02 into the third period when his shot from the point sailed past Raycroft for a 6-1 advantage. Gonchar and Malkin both assisted on the goals.
Ouellet tapped in Whitney's crisp pass with 8:52 remaining to boost the lead to 7-1. Malkin assisted on the goal as well.
Brendan Bell got one back for Toronto as his first-career NHL goal deflected off a Penguins defenseman and bounced into the goal with 6:16 to play.
Ryan Malone capped the scoring as he one-timed Malkin's pass into the back of the net with 5:24 remaining. Recchi had the other assist.
Fleury stopped 26 of 28 shots to earn the win in goal.
"He's been a big reason why we've had success lately and he was big part of our success tonight," Crosby said.
ICE CHIPS: Ronald Petrovicky was the Penguins' healthy scratch...Aleksander Suglobov and Darcy Tucker were the Maple Leafs scratches...The announced attendance was 17,132...Mark Recchi (No