PITTSBURGH (AP) — Evgeni Malkin had a fitting end to a multigame celebration of a significant career milestone.
Malkin scored the deciding goal on penalties and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Wednesday night for their fourth consecutive win.
Malkin, who was honored for his 1,000th NHL game in Pittsburgh on Sunday, threw a backhand ball over Dan Vlader’s glove. After Malkin scored, he threw his bat into the crowd and celebrated with his teammates.
“It was perfect,” said Captain Sidney Crosby. “You don’t want someone else to have the opportunity to win the game. The whole night was fantastic.”
Crosby and Rickard Rakell also scored in the tiebreak for the Penguins, who improved to 6-1-1 overall in their last eight games. Jan Rutta scored in regulation time and Tristan Jarry made 33 saves for his 100th NHL win.
“(Malkin) plays his best when the stakes are high,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. “I think that’s where players build their legacy. He’s been on the big stage a lot in his career.”
Dillon Dube scored in the second period for the Flames, who had won back-to-back. Calgary has four wins in their last six games after a seven-game losing streak.
Vladar, starting for the fourth time this season and for the first time since November 10, stopped 38 shots.
Flames coach Darryl Sutter said it’s been quite a night for Malkin.
“He’s the guy who wins it for them in the end. Good for him,” Sutter said.
Rutta opened the scorer at 2:09 when he defeated Vladar with a wrist shot from the blocker side between circles.
Pittsburgh looked set to take a 2-0 lead thanks to a Bryan Rust goal. But it was ruled offside after a challenge from a coach.
Calgary then leveled it to 1 at 8:37 of the second when Dube redirected a Chris Tanev shot behind Jarry.
The Penguins celebrated Malkin in his first home game after beating in his 1,000th home game in Chicago on Sunday. career game in the regular season.
Malkin’s teammates all wore his No. 71 jersey during warm-up. Malkin’s wife Anna and 6-year-old son Nikita joined him on the ice during a pre-game ceremony. He received personal gifts, including a silver hockey stick, to commemorate his 1000th career game.
“Thanks to my teammates and the Pittsburgh Penguins organization,” Malkin said. “It’s an amazing life for me and my family. I cried every day for the last three days because the team gave me so many surprises. They gave me a special evening and gifts before the game. I have no words. It was just incredible.”
Calgary played the fourth game in a six-game road trip season.
The Flames lost the first game of the trip to Tampa Bay but rallied with wins over Florida and Philadelphia before losing in Wednesday’s shootout to the Penguins. Calgary concludes the trip with games in Washington and Carolina.
The Flames have at least one point in their last seven games at PPG Paints Arena from the 2015-16 season.
Flames: Continue with a six-game road trip in Philadelphia on Friday.
Penguins: Visit Washington on Friday.
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