PITTSBURGH – Evgeni Malkin woke up Sunday morning, texted Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and told him he was good to go after missing nine games because of an ailing left leg.
Sure looked like it.
The Russian star scored twice and added an assist, helping the Penguins rally past Winnipeg 6-5 to extend their home winning streak to 12 straight. James Neal added two goals and Jussi Jokinen scored for the third time in the last two games as Pittsburgh’s second line kept the Penguins in it until Matt Niskanen’s slap shot with 7:22 left won it.
It’s always a big boost when you get a guy like (Malkin) back, Neal said. Myself and Jussi were obviously excited. We try to feed off that. It looked like he didn’t miss a beat out there. He was his normal self.
So were the Penguins after an atypical start. Pittsburgh trailed by two early but came roaring back to remain unbeaten at home since Nov. 13.
Bylsma won his 232nd game with Pittsburgh, tying him with Eddie Johnston for the most in franchise history.
H URRICANES 2, PREDATORS 1: In Raleigh, N.C., Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner scored and Anton Khudobin made 31 saves to lift Carolina to its season-high fourth straight win.
The Predators, who had earned points in four straight games, dropped their third in a row.