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Malkin, Crosby score as Penguins beat Blues

Pittsburgh Penguins St. Louis Blues Sidney Crosby, Marco Scandella - The Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins top the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Saturday night.

Malkin scored his 14th of the season on the power play. He also set up Drew O’Connor’s fourth of the year.

Malkin has four goals and three assists in his last five games.

“The last couple games, he’s played extremely well,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “When his confidence is high, you can see it in his body language. When he goes over the boards, he feels like he’s going to make an impact on the game and he has.”

Jeff Carter scored his fourth goal for Pittsburgh in the third period, and Sidney Crosby’s 20th of the season was an empty-netter. Defenseman Erik Karlsson got his 600th career assist, and Tristan Jarry made 25 stops.

Crosby is one point from tying Joe Thornton for 12th place on the NHL’s career points list. He became the 19th player in NHL history to score 400 even-strength goals and 22nd in NHL history with 16 seasons of 20 or more goals.

The Penguins, who are 105-10-5 when Crosby and Malkin score in the same game, improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight overall.

“We want to trend the right way,” Jarry said. “We need the points. Playing a good, solid team game helps our team play the right way. I think it’s been giving us success.”

Robert Thomas scored his team-leading 15th of the season for the Blues, while former Penguin Kasperi Kapanen added his fourth.

Joel Hofer stopped 26 shots for the Blues, who have lost two straight following a three-game winning streak. St. Louis is 5-3 under interim coach Drew Bannister.

“We had some opportunities,” Bannister said. “We hit a few crossbars and posts, but we can’t make mistakes in the neutral zone and we can’t take penalties. The margin of error is too small.”

Carter gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead at 4:48 of the third period. Hofer tried to play the puck up the boards, but Jansen Harkins intercepted and sent a pass to Carter, who redirected a one-timer across the line.

Kapanen scored on a deflection at 10:21 to make it a 3-2 game. Kapanen, who was picked 22nd overall by Pittsburgh in the 2014 draft, stopped a 21-game drought with his first goal since Nov. 14.

“It’s the loneliest feeling in the world when you can’t score, or it’s not bouncing for you,” Kapanen said.

O’Connor opened the scoring for Pittsburgh at 15:32 of the first. He took a pass from Malkin and fired a one-timer past Hofer from between the circles.

Valtteri Puustinen appeared to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead at 19:30. But the goal was waived off after Puustinen was whistled for high-sticking Brayden Schenn before his shot.

Thomas tied the game with 25 seconds left on the Puustinen penalty at 1:06 of the second. He one-timed a Jordan Kyrou pass behind Jarry from a sharp angle near the side of the net.

Malkin put Pittsburgh in front 2-1 with a power-play goal at 6:50 of the second. Jake Guentzel’s pass hit off Malkin’s right skate while he stood at the side of the crease near the left post.

“(Malkin) is playing great now,” Guentzel said. “He’s a special player. He’s an all-time great player. It’s just fun to watch him right now scoring some big-time goals for us.”


Blues: Welcome Vancouver on Thursday.

Penguins: Host the New York Islanders on Sunday.