PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pascal Dupuis scored twice and Evgeni Malkin had a goal in his return to the lineup, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night for their 14th straight win.
Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist and Sidney Crosby had two assists to push his league-best points total to 56 as the Penguins capped a giddy 24 hours and within three victories of its own NHL record for consecutive wins. Malkin, back from an upper body injury, got his first goal in three weeks.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 20 shots and even recorded his first assist while getting his 50th career shutout.
Al Montoya, making just his fourth start of the season, made 39 saves for Winnipeg but the Jets were no match for the NHL’s hottest team.
The league record for consecutive wins was set by the Mario Lemieux-led Penguins in 1992-93, and appears to be in serious jeopardy, though Lemieux — who now co-owns the franchise — hardly appears to mind.
Pittsburgh hosts the New York Islanders on Saturday and Buffalo next Tuesday. If the Penguins can handle a pair of Eastern Conference also-rans they could head to New York to face the Rangers April 3 with a chance to tie the record.
The latter half of Pittsburgh’s streak has been filled with taut defensive struggles, one-goal thrillers and stunning third-period comebacks, proof the Penguins say, that they’re ready for playoff hockey.