PITTSBURGH — Pascal Dupuis scored twice and Evgeni Malkin had a goal in his return to the lineup, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night for their 14th straight win.
Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist and Sidney Crosby had two assists to push his league-best points total to 56 as the Penguins capped a giddy 24 hours and within three victories of its own NHL record for consecutive wins. Malkin, back from an upper body injury, got his first goal in three weeks.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 20 shots and even recorded his first assist while getting his 50th career shutout.
Al Montoya, making just his fourth start of the season, made 39 saves for Winnipeg but the Jets were no match for the NHL’s hottest team.
The league record for consecutive wins was set by the Mario Lemieux-led Penguins in 1992-93, and appears to be in serious jeopardy, though Lemieux — who now co-owns the franchise — hardly appears to mind.
Pittsburgh hosts the New York Islanders on Saturday and Buffalo next Tuesday. If the Penguins can handle a pair of Eastern Conference also-rans they could head to New York to face the Rangers April 3 with a chance to tie the record.
The latter half of Pittsburgh’s streak has been filled with taut defensive struggles, one-goal thrillers and stunning third-period comebacks, proof the Penguins say, that they’re ready for playoff hockey.
There was no such drama required against the Jets on a night Pittsburgh didn’t exactly play like the weight of the third-longest streak in league history felt like a burden.
Less than a day after the Penguins acquired six-time All-Star Jarome Iginla from Calgary, Pittsburgh hardly looked like a team in need of any help. Iginla won’t play until this weekend at the earliest. Considering the ease with which his new club is playing at the moment, Iginla can take his time.
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma says he will experiment with line combinations while trying to work in Iginla and Brenden Morrow — who came over in a trade with Dallas on Sunday — but it’s unlikely he’ll mess with the trio of Kunitz, Dupuis and Crosby.
Islanders 4, Flyers 3 SO
PHILADELPHIA — Colin McDonald scored two goals, Josh Bailey tallied the clinching score in the shootout and the New York Islanders won again on the road, coming up with a shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
John Tavares also scored for New York, which won its fourth straight on the road while improving to 10-4-1 away from home this season to pull into a tie with the Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Scott Hartnell scored twice and Mike Knuble also tallied for the Flyers, who blew a two-goal lead while falling further out of the playoff picture. Philadelphia last missed the playoffs in 2007.
The Isles, who last made the playoffs in 2007, dominated the final two periods of regulation after falling behind 2-0 in the first period.
McDonald tied the game at 2 with 9:56 left in the final period when his one-timer from close range after Keith Aucoin’s pass from behind the net beat Ilya Bryzgalov on the stick side.
McDonald scored again from the point 5½ minutes later when his slap shot deflected off the skates of Flyers defenseman Bruno Gervais and past Bryzgalov to put New York ahead 3-2.
But the Flyers tied it with 29.8 seconds left in regulation when Hartnell tallied on the power play with Bryzgalov pulled. New York goalie Evgeni Nabokov appeared to have the puck frozen, but it was knocked loose and to Hartnell in front of the left post. Hartnell corralled the puck with his skates and then knocked it past a sprawled Nabokov.
After a scoreless overtime period, the teams each scored once in the regulation period of the shootout. After Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds missed his attempt in the fourth round, Bailey wristed a shot past Bryzgalov on the stick side to give New York two points.
The Flyers took a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals from Hartnell and Knuble. Hartnell opened the scoring by one-timing a pass from Giroux from the slot low and to Nabokov’s glove side. Hartnell fanned a bit on the shot, shaking his head in mock disgust before smiling after the power-play tally.
Knuble, who was a healthy scratch in eight straight games and 10 of the last 11, put Philadelphia ahead two goals when he finished a 2-on-1 break by deking past Nabokov with a slick backhanded shot into a wide-open goal.
Maple Leafs 6, Hurricanes 3
TORONTO — Joffrey Lupul scored the go-ahead goal with 3:10 remaining, helping the Toronto Maple Leafs hold off a Carolina comeback and beat the Hurricanes.
Lupul raced past Joe Corvo and beat Justin Peters for his seventh goal this season, shifting the puck from his backhand before tucking the puck into the net.
Jay McClement sealed it with his sixth of the season on an empty-netter with 45 seconds to go before Nikolai Kulemin added his sixth with 3 seconds left — also into an empty net.
Tyler Bozak, Cody Franson and Dion Phaenuf also scored for Toronto.
Eric Staal, Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin scored for the Hurricanes, who rallied from a 2-0 hole for a 3-2 lead early in the third before extending their winless streak to seven games.
Coyotes 7, Predators 4
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Radim Vrbata had two goals and an assist and Rostislav Klesla added four assists and the Phoenix Coyotes scored six times in the opening period to cruise to a victory over the Nashville Predators.
Martin Hanzal, David Moss, Matthew Lombardi, Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette also scored for the Coyotes, who snapped a seven-game losing streak — thanks to their big first period that included five goals in a span of 6:40.
The Coyotes’ seven goals were just one short of the number they had in the entirety of their skid. Phoenix has scored 10 goals in the last two nights after being outscored 16-5 in their previous six games.
David Legwand, Rich Clune, Gabriel Bourque, and Shea Weber scored for Nashville, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Kings 4, Blues 2
ST. LOUIS — Mike Richards scored the go-ahead goal with 2:43 to play, Jonathan Quick made 20 saves and the Los Angeles Kings continued their dominance of St. Louis with a win over the Blues.
Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist, and Trevor Lewis and Justin Williams also scored for the Kings. Jarret Stoll assisted on Lewis’ goal, giving him 100 with Los Angeles.
The win gives the Kings only their second sweep of a season series against St. Louis after first doing it in 2005-06. Los Angeles has beaten the Blues eight straight times, including a 4-0 sweep in last season’s Western Conference semifinals.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored both goals and Jaroslav Halak made 36 saves for the Blues, who have lost four of their last five.
Senators 3, Rangers 0
OTTAWA -- Ben Bishop turned aside 24 shots to earn his second career NHL shutout and the Ottawa Senators beat the New York Rangers 3-0 on Thursday night.
Andre Benoit, Guillaume Latendresse and Colin Greening scored for the Senators, and Mika Zibanejad and Chris Neil chipped in with two assists apiece.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves for the Rangers, who applied heavy pressure while trailing 1-0 midway through the third period but could not get the puck past Bishop. The Ottawa goaltender was unflappable, throwing his body in front of a Ryan McDonagh shot and using the shaft of his stick to block another.
When the Senators finally relieved the pressure after about a minute, they went down ice and Latendresse beat Lundqvist with a low shot from the faceoff circle. Greening scored into an empty net with just over two minutes to play.
The Senators had the only goal of the opening two periods when Benoit let loose a point shot that found the back of the net with Anton Stralman in the penalty box for tripping.
Lundqvist was visibly upset with McDonagh immediately following the goal. Not only did Lundqvist not see the shot, but he took an elbow to the head from his defenseman just before it went in.
McDonagh was in between Lundqvist and Ottawa forward Chris Neil battling fighting for position in front of the net.
Neil won that battle to help the Senators take a 1-0 lead which proved to be all they needed.