CHICAGO – Evgeni Malkin gave the Sidney Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins a full two points in the standings with one powerful shot.
Malkin, the NHL points leader, scored on a power play at 1:36 of overtime to give the Penguins a 5-4 victory over Chicago on Friday night in the first game of a five-game trip. Crosby missed his second straight game because of a groin injury.
Malkin ripped a one-timer from the right circle past rookie Antti Niemi after taking a pass from Sergei Gonchar. Malkin connected with two seconds left on a penalty to Chicago’s Kris Versteeg.
“I was already focusing on the next decision,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “I saw out of the corner of my eye who was taking the shot.”
Malkin blasted his 28th goal over Niemi’s glove and into the upper-right corner. It was only the sixth shot faced by Niemi in the NHL. He made his debut when he replaced Chicago starter Cristobal Huet to begin the third period.
The Blackhawks rebounded from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits to force overtime. Chicago’s Dave Bolland chipped in Andrew Ladd’s pass with 4:45 left in the third to tie it 4-4.
“If we hadn’t gotten the positive result, it would have been very disappointing given we had two, two-goal leads at the start of a five-game road trip,” Bylsma said.
“The bottom line: Tough building against a good team than came at us real hard and we got two points.”
Jonathan Toews scored Chicago’s first three goals – all on power plays – for his first NHL hat trick. He had a team-high 25 goals in 60 games, one more goal than had in 64 games last season as a rookie.
“He had a special night tonight,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He did a lot of good things besides production. The puck was following him around. All year round, he’s improved.
Toews has eight goals and four assists in his last seven games.
“Scoring a hat trick is very exciting, but bittersweet, not being able to take the two points away,” Toews said.
Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal and newcomer Chris Kunitz each had a goal and an assist. Miroslav Satan and Maxime Talbot scored goals 37 seconds apart late in the second period.
Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury made 41 saves. He stopped 18 of 20 shots in the third period as the Blackhawks dominated the game before a crowd of 22,689, their 26th sellout in 26 home dates.
“It was huge for us,” Fleury said. “We need these point in a tight (playoff) race. To beat that team at home is such a boost.”
Kunitz played his first game with the Penguins following a trade with Anaheim on Thursday. He was acquired along with junior prospect Eric Tangradi in exchange for defenceman Ryan Whitney.
Blackhawks defenceman Cam Barker assisted on all three of Toews’ goals.
Huet made his eighth straight start and allowed four goals on 22 shots through two periods. Niemi stopped five of six shots he faced.
Huet normally alternates with Nikolai Khabibulin, who has been out with an injury since posting a 3-1 win in Atlanta on Feb. 11.
Staal opened the scoring 3:36 in. Huet failed to cover a rebound of Sergei Gonchar’s long shot, and Staal drove to the net and popped it in.
Kunitz made it 2-0 with a fluke goal at 8:44. Staal’s shot went wide to the left of the net, then bounded out to Kunitz who was alone at the edge of the crease.
Kunitz turned and tucked the puck between Huet’s pads.
Toews’ power-play deflection cut it to 2-1 with 4:16 left in the first. In the slot, Toews redirected Cam Barker’s shot from the blue line.
Toews’ second power-play goal, at 6:36 of the second, tied it 2-2. He partially fanned on a from the right side of the net, but the puck struck Fleury’s right skate and deflected in.
Toews deflected in a high shot by Barker during a Chicago power play with 4:51 left in the second. But the goal was disallowed following a video review because Toews’ stick was above crossbar height.
Satan’s goal, four seconds after a Penguins’ power-play expired, gave Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead with 1:36 left in the second. Satan converted a rebound of Ruslan Fedotenko’s shot following a turnover by Versteeg.
Talbot made it 4-2 37 seconds later when his attempt from the left side of the net bounded in off Barker’s skate.
Toews cut it to 4-3 at 1:55 of the third with his third power-play score. From the right circle, he one-timed in Barker’s feed from the left point.
Notes: Crosby has missed a total of three games this season. He was hurt in a 5-2 loss at Washington on Sunday. … Kunitz flew to Chicago on Thursday from Boston, before the Ducks’ 6-0 loss to the Bruins, and joined the Penguins in time for Friday’s morning skate. … Huet has set a season high for consecutive starts by a Blackhawks goalie. … Chicago RW Patrick Sharp missed his sixth game because of a left knee injury.