LOS ANGELES (AP) – Patric Hornqvist scored two goals and Evgeni Malkin got the tiebreaking goal early in the third period of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ fifth win in six games, 3-1 over the slumping Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
Casey DeSmith stopped 28 shots to earn his first NHL victory in his third career appearance for Pittsburgh. Malkin had a goal and an assist as the Penguins bounced back from a loss in Anaheim one night earlier with a solid effort at Staples Center in the second stop of the back-to-back Stanley Cup champs’ three-game California trip.
Hornqvist scored in the opening minute and got another during a five-minute power play midway through the third after Dustin Brown got a game misconduct penalty for sending a kneeling Justin Schultz into the boards near the Kings’ bench. Schultz stayed down for a long moment before skating off gingerly.
Adrian Kempe scored and Jonathan Quick made 28 saves for the Kings, who have lost five straight for the first time this season.
Los Angeles wasted a chance to move from fourth place to second in the Pacific Division with its fifth loss in a row at home since Christmas. The Kings even took two minor penalties while trailing in the final minutes, eliciting boos from the sellout crowd.
DeSmith was solid in his first game since Dec. 9 for the Penguins, although the Kings didn’t test him strenuously. The AHL All-Star selection is filling in as Tristan Jarry’s backup while Matt Murray is on indefinite leave after his father’s death.
Hornqvist put the Penguins ahead just 43 seconds after the opening faceoff when his shot deflected off Kings defenseman Derek Forbort and somehow beat Quick from long range.
The Kings woke up and played two solid periods after that. Kempe finally evened it with his 14th goal of the season late in the second on a breakaway set up by captain Anze Kopitar.
But Malkin put the Penguins ahead 26 seconds into the third period, swatting home his 21st goal from the slot moments after winning a faceoff. The former league MVP’s goal was his seventh in six games.
Jean-Sebastien Dea made his season debut for the Penguins, playing in just his second career NHL game. Pittsburgh scratched Daniel Sprong to make room in the lineup for Dea, who had nine points in his last 10 games for the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
NOTES: Before the game, the Kings activated D Jake Muzzin from injured reserve. The veteran missed three games with an upper-body injury. Muzzin got an assist on Kempe’s goal. … Dea made his NHL debut last April in the Penguins’ regular-season finale. He then was a practice player during Pittsburgh’s run to its second straight title. … Hornqvist has three goals in three games after a nine-game goal drought. … Los Angeles F Torrey Mitchell was a healthy scratch for the first time since joining the team Nov. 23 in a trade with Montreal. He has five points in 17 games for the Kings.
Penguins: At the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
Kings: At the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night for the fourth Freeway Faceoff of the season.
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