PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Penguins shook off a lackluster performance against the Senators Friday night to rout the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night.
Evgeni Malkin recorded his seventh career hat trick and added two assists to power the Penguins to an 8-3 win at CONSOL Energy Center.
After falling 6-4 to the Senators Friday night, the Penguins were looking to have a better team effort against the Sabres.
Chris Kunitz set the tone early with a couple of big hits on the first shift of the game.
Jason Williams was called up earlier in the day and capitalized on the early momentum by ripping a slap shot by Ryan Miller from the blue line just 2:17 into the contest.
Just under four minutes later, the Penguins cashed in on the power play.
Tyler Kennedy fed a cross-ice pass to Simon Despres, who ripped a one-timer by Miller to put the Penguins up 2-0. The goal was Despres’ first in the NHL.
Later, Chris Kunitz found Malkin all alone in the slot off the rush and he beat Miller with a wrist shot to put the Penguins up 3-0 just 9:43 into the game.
Brooks Orpik earned the secondary assist on the goal to give him 100 points in his NHL career.
Miller was pulled in favor of Jhonas Enroth, but he couldn’t stop the bleeding.
After a goal by Thomas Vanek cut the lead to 3-1, Malkin struck again.
Carl Sneep fired a long pass up the boards from his own end that Malkin was able to pick up in flight. He drove the net and beat Enroth with a low backhander to put the Penguins back up by three.
Miller came back into the game to start the second period, but the Penguins cashed in on another power play in the first minute.
After a Buffalo penalty killer broke a stick, the Penguins attacked that part of the ice. Malkin fed a pass to James Neal, who fired a one-timer to the shelf over Miller to put Pittsburgh up 5-1.
The score remained unchanged until Deryk Engelland’s wrist shot squeaked through Miller’s armpit and rolled into the net with just over two minutes to play in the period.
Pascal Dupuis picked up an assist on the goal for the 300th point in his NHL career.
Enroth came back into the game to start the third period and his team made things interesting for a short period of time.
Luke Adam and Paul Gaustad scored 1:24 apart to cut the lead to 6-3 with about 10 minutes to play in the third period.
However, that’s as close as they would come as Malkin would not be denied his hat trick.
On the power play, Malkin drove into the slot and fired a shot that was blocked. He picked up his own rebound and tucked it between Enroth’s pads to put the Penguins up 7-3.
After a brief delay to clean the hats off the ice, the Penguins went right back to work.
Malkin set up Kunitz, who blew a hard snap shot by Enroth to cap the scoring in the game.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 16 saves to earn his 200th NHL win, becoming the fourth-youngest goaltender to reach that milestone in the modern era.
The Penguins will look to keep up their winning ways on Tuesday when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.