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Atlanta
Thrashers
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Pittsburgh
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game recap

Penguins 6, Thrashers 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 5:15 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 6, Thrashers 2
Atlanta Thrashers 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Evgeni Malkin was held scoreless in three of his previous five games, and he missed practice Monday because he was ill.

It seemed the Penguins' star was losing his grip on the NHL scoring title. One stellar performance was all Malkin needed to regain control.

The Russian All-Star tied a career-high with five points to surpass 100 for the second consecutive season and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Atlanta Thrashers 6-2 Tuesday night.

"He played great tonight, and it's fun to see that," captain Sidney Crosby said. "When he's playing well, everything he touches, he makes something happen. That's a good feeling, and that's a good sign for us when he's going like that."

Malkin had two goals and three assists to give him 102 points this season. He extended his lead in the scoring race over Crosby to 10 points.

"I'm happy because we won," Malkin said. "We played great, the team played great. I did not feel great on the day off, but I was better today."

Sergei Gonchar had a goal and three assists and Kris Letang and Crosby had two assists each for Pittsburgh in a game matching the two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta entered with a franchise-record six-game winning streak, and the Penguins improved to 11-1-3 under interim coach Dan Bylsma.

Bryan Little and Eric Boulton scored for Atlanta, which was playing without star wing Ilya Kovalchuk for the third straight game due to an unspecified upper body injury.

The Thrashers were miffed that rookie Zach Bogosian was knocked out of the game on a hit by Matt Cooke. Cooke was given a two-minute penalty for tripping on the play, but Atlanta wanted at least a major for kneeing.

"It was definitely knee-on-knee," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "The referee said if (Bogosian) was injured, (Cooke) would have gotten five minutes. He was injured - he just didn't lay on the ice."

That second-period incident stewed and likely led to a melee with 4:16 to play in which 44 penalty minutes were assessed and Boris Valabik sustained an unspecified injury in a fight with Eric Godard.

"To me (Bogosian) is an 18 year-old future superstar, and if people are going to protect superstars in this league then that was a knee in my book and in anyone's book," Valabik said. "I think you can't hurt anybody with a trip, and that (hit) you could hurt somebody with."

Chris Kunitz, Jordan Staal and Mark Eaton also scored for the Penguins, who are on a 9-0-2 run and are 9-1-1 in their past 11 at home.

Malkin's first goal came during a 4-on-4 in the second when he spun a reverse backhand into the net from right in front of Atlanta goalie Johan Hedberg while being shoved to the ice by Garnet Exelby.

Malkin's 32nd came only 43 seconds later, on a one-timed slap shot from the right circle which made it 5-1.

"We had great power plays," Malkin said. "Everybody played hard and we were good with our puck control. That makes it easy to get points when the power play is good."

Gonchar had the primary assists on both Malkin goals. Gonchar scored his fifth power play goal - and sixth overall - in 15 games this season in the first and also assisted on Eaton's third-period goal.

Malkin was awarded a penalty shot when he was pulled down during a breakaway with 2:56 to play in the game, but his forehand shot missed high to the left.

Atlanta took the lead 34 seconds into the game on Little's 30th.

Malkin assisted on power-play goals by Gonchar and Kunitz during the final 11 minutes of the first. His final assist came on Eaton's goal with 12:13 left in the contest.

Malkin had 106 points last season to finish second in the league.

This is the fourth consecutive season the Penguins have had a player score at least 100 points. Crosby had 102 in 2005-06 and 120 while winning the scoring title the following season. He has at least a point in 11 straight games and has five assists in his past two.

"You get nights like tonight from Malkin, and you get the previous game from Crosby," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's a luxury I have from our standpoint."

Notes: The Penguins are 2-0-1 on a franchise record eight-game homestand. Kunitz's goal was his third in two games and sixth in 10 games with Pittsburgh. Staal's goal was his 20th, giving the Penguins five 20-goal scorers in their lineup. The Penguins have killed 32 of the past 34 power plays against them, including all seven Tuesday.

scoring summary
1st Period
00:34
ATL
Bryan Little (30) ASST: Todd White (44), Vyacheslav Kozlov (42)
1 - 0 ATL
09:03
PIT
PPG - Sergei Gonchar (6) ASST: Bill Guerin (27), Evgeni Malkin (68)
1 - 1 Tie
19:34
PIT
PPG - Chris Kunitz (22) ASST: Sidney Crosby (64), Evgeni Malkin (69)
2 - 1 PIT
2nd Period
02:47
PIT
Jordan Staal (20) ASST: Tyler Kennedy (15), Kris Letang (19)
3 - 1 PIT
12:25
PIT
Evgeni Malkin (31) ASST: Sergei Gonchar (6), Kris Letang (20)
4 - 1 PIT
13:08
PIT
PPG - Evgeni Malkin (32) ASST: Sergei Gonchar (7), Sidney Crosby (65)
5 - 1 PIT
13:53
ATL
Eric Boulton (3) ASST: Chris Thorburn (8), Eric Perrin (12)
5 - 2 PIT
3rd Period
07:47
PIT
Mark Eaton (3) ASST: Sergei Gonchar (8), Evgeni Malkin (70)
6 - 2 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
07:02
ATL
Boris Valabik  Tripping against  Sidney Crosby
07:45
ATL
Colin Stuart  Tripping against  Kris Letang
10:02
PIT
Matt Cooke  Interference against  Colby Armstrong
13:00
PIT
Bill Guerin  Roughing against  Eric Boulton
15:59
ATL
Boris Valabik  Cross checking against  Matt Cooke
19:13
ATL
Brett Sterling  Tripping against  Matt Cooke
2nd Period
03:25
PIT
Tyler Kennedy  Holding against  Marty Reasoner
10:31
PIT
Matt Cooke  Tripping against  Zach Bogosian
12:20
ATL
Rich Peverley  Tripping against  Chris Kunitz
3rd Period
05:37
PIT
Mark Eaton  Roughing against  Brett Sterling
08:30
PIT
Mark Eaton  Hooking against  Spencer Machacek
15:44
ATL
Chris Thorburn  Misconduct (10 min) against  Maxime Talbot
15:44
ATL
Boris Valabik  Fighting (maj) against  Eric Godard
15:44
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Misconduct (10 min) against  Eric Boulton
15:44
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Roughing against  Eric Boulton
15:44
PIT
Eric Godard  Fighting (maj) against  Boris Valabik
15:44
ATL
Eric Boulton  Misconduct (10 min) against  Maxime Talbot
15:44
ATL
Eric Boulton  Roughing against  Maxime Talbot
16:03
ATL
Garnet Exelby  Roughing against  Evgeni Malkin
16:56
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Roughing against  Toby Enstrom
19:44
ATL
Rich Peverley  Tripping against  Tyler Kennedy
goalie stats
Johan Hedberg
SA: 31TOI: 59:56
Saves: 25EV: 17 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 8
SV%: .806SH: 3 - 3
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 20TOI: 60:00
Saves: 18EV: 12 - 14
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .900SH: 2 - 2