Malkin and Malone move Penguins atop the Atlantic
Pittsburgh chases Brodeur in big victory over New Jersey
Evgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist, and Ryan Malone scored twice for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who beat visiting New Jersey 7-1 Saturday night to take a two-point lead over the Devils atop the Atlantic Division.
Jarkko Ruutu, Pascal Dupuis and Petr Sykora also scored and Marian Hossa had three assists as the Penguins won for the fifth time in six games.
Pittsburgh broke open a tight game by scoring five goals in the third period and chasing goalie Martin Brodeur.
Malkin scored two goals and had an assist during the final 11:36 to give him 102 points — four fewer than NHL leader Alex Ovechkin of Washington. Malkin is the 12th Penguins player to reach 100 points in a season.
Brian Gionta had a short-handed goal for the Devils, who have lost three in a row (0-2-1) and scored only three times in that time.
Pittsburgh will visit New Jersey on Tuesday in the final meeting between the teams this regular season.
The Penguins, who scored seven goals for the third time in four home games, remained one point behind Montreal in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Ruutu has scored in a career-best three straight games. His centring pass during a 3-on-2 was intercepted by defenceman Andrew Greene, but Greene pushed the puck between Brodeur's legs. Ruutu was credited with his fifth goal of the season.
Gionta tied it midway through the period with his 21st goal.
Pittsburgh regained the lead for good with 3:46 left in the second period with its own short-handed goal.
Malone picked up the puck at his blue-line and started a 2-on-1 with Dupuis, then finished it for his 25th goal and first in six games.
Malone was back with a power-play goal three minutes into the third when
he deflected Sergei Gonchar's shot from the point out of the air while standing in the high slot.
Dupuis scored less than two minutes later to make it 4-1.
Malkin notched another Penguins power-play goal with a wrist shot from the right circle at 8:24, then added an even-strength tally at 11:21. Both of his goals were scored against backup goalie Kevin Weekes.
Sykora added a goal on a pass from Malkin with 1:42 to play.
Brodeur was replaced after allowing four goals on 19 shots. Weekes gave up three on nine shots.