Evgeni Malkin dangles through legs, scores against Wild
Granlund fooled by Penguins centre's toe drag
Evgeni Malkin took out his anger, frustration, whatever emotion he was feeling Tuesday night, on the Minnesota Wild net.
Some 24 hours earlier, following the Penguins' closed-door, players-only meeting, the struggling centre told reporters his teammates needed to "look in the mirror and start working harder."
Malkin led by example, highlighted by a breathtaking goal midway through the second period in which he dragged the puck through his legs and skated by Minnesota forward Mikael Granlund before ripping a low shot to the short side by goalie Devan Dubnyk for a 4-1 lead that Pittsburgh nearly frittered away, winning 4-3.
Malkin, who began the night with 12 points in 17 games but only two assists in a seven-game stretch, finished with two goals and two assists to earn first-star honours. He had collected two points on three other occasions this campaign.
He set up David Perron for the game's first goal 72 seconds after the opening faceoff and fed Beau Bennett for his first goal of the season, a power-play marker later in the period.
At 8:15 of the second period, Malkin scored his fifth of the season, blasting another low shot past Dubnyk.
The Penguins entered the game 27th in the 30-team NHL averaging 2.06 goals per game this season, and the power play was 29th at 12.3 per cent.
The news wasn't all positive for a Pittsburgh outfit that improved to 11-7-0 as defenceman Olli Maatta exited the game midway through the second after Wild forward Nino Niederreiter checked him into the boards near the Minnesota bench.
Maatta missed 62 games last season with various injuries.