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game recap

Penguins 4, Thrashers 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 4, Thrashers 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Atlanta Thrashers 2

ATLANTA (AP) -Evgeni Malkin's sixth career hat trick didn't impress him that much. His contribution to Pittsburgh's special teams was more meaningful.

"This was my first power-play (goal) of the season, and I hope it's not my last," Malkin said. "We moved the puck well tonight."

Malkin scored three times, Sidney Crosby added a goal and two assists and the Penguins beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-2 Saturday night for their second straight victory.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury won his second consecutive start, improving to 3-6-0 after stopping 34 shots.

Malkin and Crosby added to their career dominance of Atlanta. Crosby has 28 points, including eight goals, in 19 games against the Thrashers. Malkin has 27 points, including nine goals, in 17 games.

"They're not both just talented but they're strong," Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. "Malkin is a monster, and Crosby is as strong on the puck as there is."

After tying the score 1-all 13:22 into the second period, Malkin made it 3-1 on the power play by controlling a ricochet off the rear boards and tapping in his own rebound with 15:18 left. Malkin's seventh goal of the season was an empty-netter.

Crosby put Pittsburgh ahead 2-1 by redirecting a shot from Deryk Engelland for his 12th goal, but he credited the power-play work of Malkin as being more important in the big picture.

"It was a big boost," said Crosby, whose six goals and six assists over the last five games increased his season points total to 27. "Obviously, (Malkin) had some great chances these last few games. Usually, it's just a matter of getting one or two and they all seem to come."

The Penguins improved to 30-9-2 against Atlanta, which led 1-0 on defenseman Brent Sopel's first goal of the season.

Niclas Bergfors' fifth goal cut the lead to 3-2 for the Thrashers, who have one victory in their last five games. Bergfors tapped in the puck from the left side of the crease after receiving Evander Kane's backhand pass from the rear boards.

Pittsburgh appears to have bounced back from a 7-4 loss Wednesday, when Boston scored five unanswered goals in the third period.

One of the biggest differences is Fleury, who hadn't won in regulation this season before Friday's victory over Tampa Bay.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is encouraged that the same Fleury who helped Pittsburgh win the 2009 Stanley Cup title looks rejuvenated.

"(The Thrashers) had a couple of great chances," Byslma said, "and coming back after last night's game, you could sense you were going to get a great game from Marc."

Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec dropped to 0-5 against the Penguins. He stopped 24 of 27 shots.

"Those guys don't need many chances to score goals," Pavelec said. "They may be the best players in the NHL. It's tough to play them for 60 minutes, but if we want to make the playoffs, we need to shut down those guys."

Arron Asham assisted on Malkin's first goal, a wrister he took from the bottom of the right circle.

Notes: The Thrashers, who visit Washington on Sunday, won the season opener against the Capitals but were winless in six tries against their Southeast Division rivals last season. ... Thrashers C Bryan Little took two shots and won five of seven faceoffs in returning for the first time in six games after sustaining a concussion and facial lacerations. ... Atlanta LW Freddy Modin left in the first period with an upper-body injury and didn't return.

scoring summary
1st Period
02:41
ATL
Brent Sopel (1) Tip-in - ASST: Alexander Burmistrov (3), Anthony Stewart (5)
1 - 0 ATL
2nd Period
13:22
PIT
Evgeni Malkin (5) Snap shot - ASST: Arron Asham (3), Kris Letang (14)
1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
02:41
PIT
Sidney Crosby (12) Tip-in - ASST: Deryk Engelland (2), Evgeni Malkin (9)
2 - 1 PIT
04:42
PIT
PPG - Evgeni Malkin (6) Tip-in - ASST: Paul Martin (8), Sidney Crosby (14)
3 - 1 PIT
10:45
ATL
Niclas Bergfors (5) Tip-in - ASST: Evander Kane (4), Alexander Burmistrov (4)
3 - 2 PIT
18:58
PIT
EN - Evgeni Malkin (7) Tip-in - ASST: Sidney Crosby (15), Matt Cooke (6)
4 - 2 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
02:21
ATL
Chris Thorburn  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Rupp
02:21
PIT
Mike Rupp  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Thorburn
03:51
PIT
Matt Cooke  Interference against  Evander Kane
11:59
ATL
Evander Kane  Interference against  Maxime Talbot
12:48
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Hooking against  Johnny Oduya
16:02
ATL
Rich Peverley  Slashing against  Sidney Crosby
2nd Period
14:17
PIT
Paul Martin  Slashing against  Eric Boulton
16:54
ATL
Bryan Little  Holding against  Evgeni Malkin
19:57
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Interference against  Nik Antropov
19:57
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Roughing against  Dustin Byfuglien
19:57
ATL
Ben Eager  Hi-sticking against  Brooks Orpik
3rd Period
02:51
ATL
Alexander Burmistrov  Boarding against  Chris Conner
05:00
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Holding against  Bryan Little
06:31
ATL
Evander Kane  Holding against  Pascal Dupuis
goalie stats
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 33TOI: 60:00
Saves: 31EV: 23 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 7
SV%: .939SH: 1 - 1
Ondrej Pavelec
Ondrej Pavelec
1-2-2
SA: 27TOI: 59:29
Saves: 24EV: 13 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .889SH: 5 - 5