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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Evgeni Malkin had three assists to move into a tie for the NHL scoring lead and the Pittsburgh Penguins snapped the Chicago Blackhawks’ five-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.
Malkin assisted on goals by Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Tyler Kennedy, giving him points in all six games since Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left the lineup again because of concussion symptoms.
Malkin has six goals and nine assists in that stretch in which the Penguins lost three of the first four before Malkin had a hat trick in an 8-3 victory over Buffalo on Saturday.
Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg had third-period goals for Chicago (21-9-4), which entered with the most points in the NHL. The Blackhawks had won five straight on the road.
Coming off a career high-tying five-point game, Malkin matched the season high for assists he set Saturday. During a first-period power play, Malkin slid a deft pass to Kunitz to spring him into the Blackhawks’ zone. Kunitz beat goalie Ray Emery between the pads to score for the third straight game, netting his 12th of the season.
The power play resulted from an instigating penalty given to John Scott, who reacted after Deryk Engelland led with his forearm in delivering a hit to Marcus Kruger’s head. Kruger played the remainder of the period but didn’t play after that. Engelland wasn’t penalized.
Malkin set up Neal for his 19th of the season — 13th at home — 2:45 into the second. Neal has a six-game point streak.
Defenseman Matt Niskanen assisted on each the game’s first two goals of the game to give him 100 career points and nine points in eight games.
Kennedy made it 3-0 with 3:27 left in the second with his fourth of the season and first since Nov. 25 off a nifty setup from defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who played his first game since Nov. 3 due to a broken wrist.
The Penguins were 11-0-2 when leading after two periods, but the Blackhawks had rallied for at least a point in five of 13 games they trailed heading into the third.
Chicago scored twice over the first 6:12 of the period, starting with Toews’ 19th just 49 seconds in. Toews and Neal moved one behind Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos for the league lead in goals.
Stalberg had the first assist on the goal by Toews, and he scored his sixth of the season 5:23 later, the result of crisp passing by Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.
Hossa extended his point streak to six games.
Chicago dominated much of the third period, holding a 19-4 edge in shots. The Blackhawks had a 6-on-4 skating advantage for the final 1:29 after a tripping penalty to Neal — the third minor of the game assessed to him — and the pulling of Emery.
But they couldn’t beat Marc-Andre Fleury, who moved into second in the NHL with his 17th win of the season and 201st of his career.
NOTES: Chicago LW Patrick Sharp had his career-best, nine-game point streak snapped. It was the longest in the NHL this season. … Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook played two days after being knocked out of a win over Calgary Flames on an illegal hit from behind by Rene Bourque. Bourque was suspended for two games. … Blackhawks LW Dan Carcillo sat out a third consecutive game because of an upper body injury. … Pittsburgh C Jordan Staal (lower-body) played for the first time in three games. … Malkin has at least two points in nine of his past 14 games. … Niskanen has a three-game point streak. … Toews leads the NHL with 23 road points. … Chicago hasn’t won in regulation in Pittsburgh since Feb. 22, 1997. … The Blackhawks fell to 10-3-4 in one-goal games.
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