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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

(Related Press Release: Tuesday’s game starts at 7 p.m.)

The rookies keep producing.

Jordan Staal scored two goals and Evgeni Malkin had another Saturday night to lead the Penguins to a 5-3 win over Columbus at Mellon Arena.

Michel Ouellet got the Penguins on the scoreboard 2:03 into the game on a power-play goal. Sergei Gonchar’s shot from just inside the blue line was deflected by Ouellet and sailed past Fredrik Norrena. Gonchar and Ryan Whitney earned assists on the play.

Gonchar fired in another power-play goal with 12:09 left in the first period. After Norrena stopped Ryan Malone’s shot, Mark Recchi tapped the puck out to Gonchar, who rifled it past Norrena.

With just under 10 minutes left in the first period, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made several strong saves.

Columbus got on the scoreboard with 2:25 remaining in the period on Gilbert Brule’s power-play goal.

Fleury made two sprawling glove saves on Blue Jackets power-plays to end the period.

Fredrik Modin tied the contest at 2-all when he scored 7:58 into the second period.

Staal punched in a rebound with 5:17 left in the second period to give the Penguins a 3-2 edge. Norrena stopped Recchi’s initial shot, but Staal, who was at the top of the crease, flipped the puck into the net for a short-handed goal.

Malkin scored his third goal in his third NHL game 7:04 into the third period. On the power play, he took a Sidney Crosby pass and fired it past Norrena and inside the far post. Ouellet added an assist on the play.

Staal put the Penguins up, 5-2, just 45 seconds later when he scored on a short-handed penalty shot. That gave him three goals on the year – all short-handed.

Nikolai Zherdev got one back for the Blue Jackets with 4:35 to play. Already on a two-man advantage, Columbus pulled Norrena for a unique 6-on-3 situation. The Penguins (4-3) held off the Blue Jackets for a while, but a wide-open Zherdev one-timed a shot past a diving Fleury. The Penguins goaltender, who dove from his left to his right nearly stopped the shot as he dove fully extended, but the puck just slid under his stick.

Nevertheless, Fleury finished with 36 saves on the night in another strong performance in goal.

The Penguins return to action Tuesday at Mellon Arena against New Jersey. The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Versus.

ICE CHIPS: Karl Stewart and Chris Thorburn were the Penguins’ scratches…Anders Eriksson was the lone scratch for Columbus…Announced attendance was 14,637…Wilkes-Barre/Scranton posted a 3-0 win over Albany…Erik Christensen, Jonathan Filewich and Max Talbot all scored goals for the Baby Penguins.


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