Fleury, who hasn’t lost in regulation in 10 games since Jan. 9, turned aside 25 shots as the Penguins won their ninth in 11 games, with two overtime losses. Fleury has started each of those games. The NHL’s most improved team from a year ago is 27-17-9 – a 29-point improvement from this time last season.
Nashville owns an NHL-best 37-15-3 record, but lost its third in four games because it couldn’t stop the Penguins’ oldest player and three of its youngest.
Jordan Staal and Malkin, whose combined age of 38 is one year younger than Recchi’s 39, had goals and NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby set up two others to give him 25 goals and 61 assists for 86 points in 50 games. The 19-year-old Crosby has four goals and 17 assists as the Penguins have earned at least one point in 11 consecutive games.
Jarkko Ruutu also scored an empty-net goal.
Staal scored his 19th about six minutes into the second period to tie it 1-1, after Crosby carried the puck from the far blue line into the offensive zone and set up Staal in the left circle for a one-timer.
Malkin made it 2-1 about two minutes later on a power play. Recchi collected the rebound of Crosby’s missed shot and passed to Malkin in the right circle for his 26th goal.
Recchi got his 18th early in the third, skating in from the right circle to beat goalie Chris Mason with a wrist shot. Recchi had gone scoreless in four games since getting 10 points in three games, including six goals, from Jan. 20-27.
The Predators scored a first-period goal for the 18th game in a row when Scott Nichol tipped in rookie Sheldon Brookbank’s shot from the right point with about two minutes remaining in the period. Brookbank was initially given the goal on his first NHL shot, but the goal was later credited to Nichol.
Notes: The Penguins are 18-0-5 when leading after two periods. … The Penguins hadn’t beaten Nashville since Oct. 8, 2000, though the teams play infrequently. Nashville hadn’t played in Pittsburgh since 2004. … Fleury has 25 of the Penguins’ 27 victories. … The Penguins have won six consecutive home games. … The Penguins went 4-0-1 while playing five games in eight days, four at home. … Malkin has scored in five consecutive games (two goals, five assists).