Malkin leads Crosby-less Penguins to win over Stars

DALLAS (Ticker) — All-Star Evgeni Malkin is making life without
Sidney Crosby look easy for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Without its captain for the third straight game, Malkin recorded
a power-play goal and two assists to lead Pittsburgh to its
third consecutive win, a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on

Jordan Staal, defenseman Kris Letang and Miroslav Satan also
scored for the Penguins, who have strung together three straight
wins for the first time since November.

“We’re playing right now without Sid – an outstanding player –
and eventually we will get him back and add to how we’re
playing,” Pittsburgh interim coach Dan Bylsma said. “We still
need to get better and better going down the stretch, play 60
minutes and play more consistently.”

Loui Eriksson had the lone goal for Dallas, which has lost a
season-worst five straight and finished a six-game homestand
with a 1-5-0 mark.

“A little rattled,” Dallas center Mike Modano said of his team’s
state of mind.

“February didn’t go as well as we hoped, there is still a lot of
hockey left. March is a tough month for us. But it’s most
gratifying when your pushed to the wall.”

Nursing a sore groin, Crosby missed out on the scoring spree in
the opening two periods as the Penguins scored four goals on
their first 13 shots against rookie goaltender Tobias Stephan.

Malkin extended his point-scoring streak to eight games when he
assisted on Staal’s tally to open the scoring 4:08 into the
first. The Russian registered his 63rd assist of the season
when Letang doubled the bulge with 3:39 remaining in the opening

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“You can see at times when he (Malkin) grabs the puck and starts
to go that he can go,” Bylsma said. “He often raises his game
to another level and attacks the puck. Everyone’s like, ‘Here
he goes.'”

The Penguins, who appear to have started a playoff push without
Crosby, moved past Buffalo and Carolina into eighth place in the
Eastern Conference standings.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 shots and won for the fifth time in
his last six starts and the Penguins took advantage of a rare
day off for Marty Turco.

“Guys are playing well, chipping in more,” Fleury said. “We had
a good win in Chicago and another one today. We need to do it
as a team. We have to keep improving if we want to make the
playoffs. We had such a tough time and a battle to get back in

Stephan made 19 saves as Turco had his franchise-best streak of
32 consecutive starts snapped in the second of back-to-back

“Three of those goals were funky bounces,” Dallas defenseman
Darryl Sydor said. “He made some huge saves in the third period
but we couldn’t get anything going.”

After Satan gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead 8:18 into the second,
Malkin picked up a loose puck on the power play and fired a shot
from between the faceoff circles past Stephan for a four-goal