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PITTSBURGH (AP) – Evgeni Malkin scored two power-play goals and Sidney Crosby had three assists to reach another career milestone as the Pittsburgh Penguins topped the Minnesota Wild 6-3 on Thursday night.
Malkin, who has 23 goals, added an assist to give him 16 goals and 31 points in his last 24 games. Crosby passed Jaromir Jagr for second on the team’s all-time scoring list with 1,082 points and is now behind only current Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, who finished his career with 1,723 points.
Dominik Simon scored two goals, Carl Hagelin had a goal and an assist and Brian Dumoulin scored one goal for Pittsburgh. Phil Kessel, the Penguins’ leading scorer with 58 points, also had three assists for the Penguins, who won their fifth straight home game.
Pittsburgh has wins in seven of its last nine games overall.
Rookie Casey DeSmith, making his fourth straight start for Pittsburgh, stopped 23 shots. DeSmith had his bid for his first NHL shutout end when Eric Staal scored with 11:16 to play.
Staal scored his 20th of the season, Mikael Granlund added his 15th on the power play and Jonas Brodin had his fifth for the Wild, whose season-best six-game points streak ended.
Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves on 21 shots before he was pulled after Dumoulin’s goal in the second period. Alex Stalock stopped 16 shots in relief.
Simon opened the scoring at 3:54 of the first period on a pass from Crosby, who extended his season-best assists and points streak to nine games – the NHL’s longest active run. Crosby has three goals and 19 points during the streak. He is one goal shy of his 400th of his NHL career.
Malkin scored a power-play goal later in the period. His centering attempt from behind the net hit Wild D Ryan Suter and Dubnyk and crossed the line.
Pittsburgh extended the lead to 4-0 on second-period goals scored by Hagelin and Dumoulin.
Hagelin scored from the slot on Malkin’s setup, and Dumoulin finished a tic-tac-toe passing sequence from Crosby and Hagelin 1:27 later.
Malkin scored his second power-play goal off Suter’s skate at 1:42 of the third period and Simon scored his second of the game, making it 6-0, just 50 seconds later.
NOTES: Wild F Matt Cullen, who helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups, returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since signing with Minnesota in the summer as a free agent. … Penguins G Matt Murray was active for the first time since Jan. 7, serving as the backup to DeSmith. He returned home to Canada on Jan. 17 following the death of his father, James. … Malkin appeared in his 753rd game, tying Jean Pronovost for fourth on the team’s all-time list. … Wild F Nino Niederreiter skated Wednesday and could return Feb. 2 against the Vegas Golden Knights. … The Penguins re-assigned G Tristan Jarry to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. … Pittsburgh scratched defensemen Chad Ruhwedel and Matt Hunwick along with F Ryan Reaves. Minnesota sat D Mike Reilly and F Chris Stewart.
Wild: Visit Columbus on Tuesday.
Penguins: Continue a four-game homestand Tuesday against San Jose.
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