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Malkin powers Penguins past Panthers
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Evgeni Malkin had one goal and three assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
Malkin has four goals and 13 assists during an eight-game point streak for the Penguins, who are 6-1-1 over their last eight games. James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Joe Vitale and Jussi Jokinen also lit the lamp.
"I'm not at the top (of my game)," Malkin said. "Sometimes I have the puck and I need to shoot. Instead I pass. It's a mistake for me. Sometimes I'm in a great position to shoot. I just need to shoot myself."
Jeff Zatkoff stopped 39-of-40 shots in the victory.
Scottie Upshall scored the lone goal for the Panthers, who have lost four of five.
Tim Thomas was benched after turning aside 9-of-13 shots over two periods. Scott Clemmensen made eight saves in the third frame.
"The mistakes went back to us again," Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek said. "We have to decide if we're going to be a mentally focused team. We have 40 shots; we outchance them, we outshoot them, they capitalize on their opportunities. A good team does that."
The Penguins scored a pair of goals in a span of 32 seconds midway through the first period. The first score came on the power play at the 10:45 mark, when Malkin intercepted Thomas' clearing attempt along the boards and fired a pass toward the net. Kunitz just got enough of the puck to score into an open net.
Vitale put home a rebound from a sharp angle for his first goal of the season and the visitors were up by two after one period.
Malkin made it a 3-0 contest at the 7:23 mark of the middle stanza, as he beat Thomas with a nice forehand-to-backhand deke.
Florida appeared to get on the board with 9:45 to go, but the goal by Brad Boyes was disallowed after replay determined he intentionally kicked in the puck.
The Panthers did score with 2:07 remaining when Upshall used a backhander to beat Zatkoff.
But the Penguins scored just 29 seconds later when Malkin backhanded a pass from behind the net to Neal, whose one-timer got past Thomas.
Jokinen scored at 6:10 of the third period to account for the final margin.
The Panthers fell to 1-2-0 on their five-game homestand ... Florida went 1- for-4 on the power play ... Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim played in his 400th NHL game ... Florida forward Jesse Winchester returned after missing three games with a lower-body injury.
12/01 00:23:24 ET