Malkin scores twice in return, Penguins defeat Ducks 4-1

Jan 11, 2022, 7:55 AM | Updated: 10:54 pm

Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28) battle for a position in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

(38)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Evgeni Malkin couldn’t have dreamed up a better return to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup.

The four-time All-Star and 2012 Hart Trophy winner scored twice and had an assist in his season debut Tuesday night as the surging Penguins rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

“Obviously we were hopeful that he’d have an immediate impact, and to score two goals like he did tonight, set up an empty-netter on one of (Jeff Carter’s) goals, was quite an impact on the game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Malkin had not played since undergoing right knee surgery in June. He missed Pittsburgh’s first 34 games, but had been skating with teammates for several weeks and was a full participant in Monday’s practice.

The 35-year-old Russian star centered the second line between Carter and Kasperi Kapanen, which was responsible for all four Pittsburgh goals. Carter scored two and Kapanen had two assists.

It was Malkin’s 63rd multigoal game during the regular season and first since March 10, 2020. He had a career-low eight goals and 28 points in 33 games last season.

“It was a long process for me. This was the longest break in my life,” said Malkin, who got 20 shifts and 17:21 of ice time. “We won and I scored a couple of goals — it felt amazing. I feel so at ease right now.”

Tristan Jarry stopped 25 shots for the Penguins, who bounced right back from Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Dallas that snapped a 10-game winning streak.

Jakob Silfverberg scored Anaheim’s goal and Anthony Stolarz made 30 saves. The Ducks have dropped four of six.

“I do believe our guys were trying. They were trying to keep level-headed and neutral in their thinking coming out of the first,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “I did think we got better as the game went on, but it just took a while for us to get our feet underneath us.”

Malkin got his first goal on a power play at 3:27 of the second period to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 advantage. He ripped a 47-foot slap shot that went through Stolarz’s legs. Sidney Crosby, screening Stolarz on the play, had to leap and just avoided the puck deflecting off his skate.

Malkin added another at 14:38 of the second when he redirected John Marino’s shot off Stolarz’s blocker. He then assisted on Carter’s empty-net goal with 2:57 remaining.

“I’m not trying to celebrate too hard, you know? I’m just having fun,” Malkin said. “We had a couple of good chances, power plays, my partners gave me nice pucks, passes. I tried to do my job, shoot the puck on the power play, play it simple.”

Carter, who had his 65th multigoal game, opened the scoring 65 seconds in when he took advantage of a turnover deep in the Ducks zone and fired a slap shot that went in off the far post. Carter has 11 goals this season and three in his last four games.

LONG DROUGHT ENDS

Silfverberg scored his second goal of the season and first in 31 games at 8:33 of the second when he knocked in a rebound. Jarry made a pad save on Josh Manson’s shot, but Sonny Milano was able to keep the puck alive and fed it to Silfverberg as Jarry was still down on the ice.

“It’s been a while. I stopped counting there after a while, but obviously it felt good,” Silfverberg said. “We’ve been struggling as a team here as of late to score goals, so hopefully I’ll pick that up and from now on won’t take as long this time.”

Silfverberg scored 21 goals in 2018-19 and has four seasons with at least 20. But the Anaheim right wing has only 10 goals since the start of last season.

MALKIN AND MARIO

Malkin’s second goal was the 74th game-winner of his 16-year NHL career. That tied him with Mario Lemieux for second place in Penguins history behind Jaromir Jagr (78).

UP NEXT

Penguins: Remain in Southern California to face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Ducks: Begin a two-game road trip against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny waits for the next player to enter the cage as he pi...
Associated Press

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, […]
20 hours ago
Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden goes up for a dunk during the first half of a preseason NBA basket...
Associated Press

Embiid, Harden begin as 76ers top Cavs in Mitchell’s debut

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid and James Harden were done with their preseason debuts long before Montrezl Harrell scored the go-ahead basket with 26 seconds left, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat Cleveland 113-112 on Wednesday night in Donovan Mitchell’s first game with the Cavaliers. Embiid had 12 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes before […]
20 hours ago
Central Florida coach Gus Malzahn, left, and SMU coach Rhett Lashlee talk before an NCAA college fo...
Associated Press

UCF scores 31 unanswered points, beats SMU in AAC opener

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — John Rhys Plumlee threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the second half to Ryan O’Keefe, and UCF scored 31 unanswered points to beat SMU 41-19 on Wednesday night in a game postponed because of tropical weather. UCF trailed 13-10 at halftime before scoring four touchdowns in the […]
20 hours ago
New York Mets' Mark Vientos celebrates with James McCann (33) after they scored on a three-run home...
Associated Press

Mets prep for playoffs with 9-2 rout of Nationals

NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets geared up for the playoffs with a 9-2 rout of the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, completing a fantastic regular season with the second-most wins in franchise history. Jeff McNeil won the major league batting crown without taking a plate appearance, and New York (101-61) […]
20 hours ago
Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly waves to the crowd after a baseball game against the Atlanta Br...
Associated Press

Mattingly wins his last game as Marlins manager, tops Braves

MIAMI (AP) — Don Mattingly went out as a winner in his final game as Miami’s manager when rookie Peyton Burdick homered and drove in four runs to lead the Marlins over the NL East champion Atlanta Braves 12-9 on Wednesday. Matt Olson hit his 34th homer and Marcell Ozuna hit his 23rd for the […]
20 hours ago
Malkin scores twice in return, Penguins defeat Ducks 4-1