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(Sunday, January 5th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 6, Winnipeg 5
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Niskanen scored the game-winner with 7:22 to play, as the Pittsburgh Penguins secured their club-record tying 12th straight home win with a 6-5 triumph over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center.
Evgeni Malkin, who had missed Pittsburgh's last nine games with a left leg injury, and James Neal each notched two goals and an assist, while Jussi Jokinen scored once and added a helper for the Penguins, who haven't lost at home since Nov. 13 against Philadelphia.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves in the victory, Pittsburgh's fourth in its last five games overall.
The triumph was Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma's 232nd career win, tying him with Eddie Johnson for the most victories in franchise history.
Evander Kane potted a pair of goals and added an assist, while Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Blake Wheeler each lit the lamp once for the Jets, who have dropped 13 straight games in the Steel City.
"Every time we come in here, it's the same," Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel said of the lengthy losing skid in Pittsburgh. "And they gave us five goals, so it's not like they were putting on a clinic."
Al Montoya allowed all six goals on 39 shots in defeat.
Kane scored twice in the final 2:29 of the second stanza to send Winnipeg into the third with a 5-4 lead, but Pittsburgh potted the only two goals of the final frame to earn the victory.
A Dustin Byfuglien turnover set up the first marker, as the Winnipeg defenseman sent a clearing attempt up the middle of his own zone that was picked off in the slot by Neal.
After gathering the puck, Neal fired a shot that Montoya turned aside, but Malkin buried the rebound from the low right side to tie the tilt at 8:29.
"I wanted Nealsy (Neal) to pass to me, but he never passes to me," Malkin joked. "He was shooting, I was in front of the net and put the rebound in."
Niskanen put the Penguins on top for good at 12:38 when his blast from the right point snuck under the pads of Montoya to make it 6-5.
Early on, Trouba and Scheifele each found the back of the net in the first period to put the Jets on top, but Pittsburgh potted three goals, including two from Neal, in the first five minutes of the second to grab the lead.
Malkin started the flurry at 1:06 with a wicked wrister from the right circle following a Winnipeg turnover before Neal netted a power-play marker at 4:25 to tie the game.
Just 34 seconds later, Neal threw a shot on net from the left midboards that deflected off defenseman Zach Bogosian's stick and snuck past Montoya to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead.
Wheeler, who was whistled for the penalty that set up Neal's first goal, made up for the infraction at 6:02 when he picked up a loose puck in the right circle and ripped a shot past Fleury's blocker to make it 3-3.
Jokinen answered with his 12th of the season at 11:38 to put the Penguins back on top, but Kane countered with game's next two goals to send Winnipeg into the third with a one-goal lead.
Kane converted a breakaway off a Brooks Orpik turnover at 17:31 before burying a rebound from the low left side for a 5-4 lead with 17.8 seconds left in the middle stanza.
The Winnipeg franchise, which prior to the 2011-12 season was known as the Atlanta Thrashers, hasn't won in Pittsburgh since a 4-2 win by the Thrashers on Dec. 27, 2006 ... Pittsburgh's 12th straight home win matched the mark set by the club from Feb. 22-March 30 of last season ... Pittsburgh improved to 19-3-0 at home this season ... Pittsburgh's Kris Letang (elbow) returned from a 10-game absence and picked up an assist ... Penguins captain Sidney Crosby notched an assist, but was unsuccessful on a penalty shot in the second period, moving him to 0-for-4 on penalty shots for his career ... Winnipeg went 0-for-3 on the power play.
01/05 16:56:42 ET
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