Malkin scores in 7 seconds, Penguins win 8-1
PITTSBURGH – A night after Tampa Bay went nearly 63 minutes before winning, the Pittsburgh Penguins needed only 7 seconds to all but assure the Lightning of losing.
Chris Kunitz scored three goals, Evgeni Malkin got Pittsburgh going with a goal off the opening faceoff and the Penguins, playing for the first time since the Winter Classic, beat Tampa Bay 8-1 on Wednesday night.
Alex Goligoski added a goal and set up three others and Kris Letang had three assists to help the Penguins end a two-game losing streak.
Pittsburgh scored four times on its first eight shots while opening a 5-0 lead in the first against the Lightning. Tampa Bay was 9-1-1 in its previous 11 after beating Washington 1-0 in overtime Tuesday night.
"It was nice to get out fast," Kunitz said. "Geno's goal in 7 seconds got us going, and things went right."
Despite all the goals, it was a quiet night for NHL scoring leaders Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos. Crosby had an assist for the only point between them.
Crosby, shut out in his previous two games following a 25-game scoring streak, has 66 points in 41 games and Pittsburgh is 26-12-3 midway through its season.
"It's nice that other guys are getting confidence," Kunitz said, "We don't have to rely on Sid every night."
Stamkos, who has 56 points, was awarded a penalty shot early in the second period, but lost an edge while tumbling in the left circle and didn't get a shot off. That play perfectly illustrated a game that got away from the Lightning almost as quickly as it started.
"The last thing on your mind is to check your skates, so I guess I'll learn from that if that happens again," Stamkos said. "I had to get both of them done; there was no edge."
And there wasn't for the Lightning from the start.
Malkin, who scored Pittsburgh's only goal in its 3-1 outdoor game loss to Washington on Saturday night, intercepted a pass by Sean Bergenheim following Vincent Lecavalier's win on the opening faceoff. Malkin then beat goalie Dwayne Roloson with a bad-angle shot from along the goal line.
"It's just one of those games where you could tell it was going to be a weird game from the first draw," Stamkos said. "We won the draw clean and they got a breakaway out of it."
The Penguins' record for fastest goal to start a game is 6 seconds by Jean Pronovost in 1976.
Roloson, who shut out Washington in his first game for Tampa Bay after being picked up from the Islanders last weekend, gave up five goals on 23 shots while being pulled twice. Dan Ellis gave up the other three goals.
All-Star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had an easy night given all the offensive support, but lost his shutout when Adam Hall scored early in the third to make it 7-1. Fleury made 31 saves.
"(There was) no rain, so it was back to routine," Fleury said, recalling the rainy Winter Classic. "It was good to be back in our building."
Chris Conner deflected Ben Lovejoy's shot from the right point less than 2½ minutes after Malkin scored. Roloson was pulled for the first time after Tyler Kennedy and Kunitz scored 25 seconds apart later in the period. Crosby assisted on Kunitz's first goal, a wrist shot just below the crossbar.
Kunitz, who had one previous NHL hat trick, made it 5-0 with a power-play goal with 1:04 remaining in the first. He added another power-play goal with 11 seconds remaining in the second period. On both goals, Kunitz redirected a shot by Goligoski.
Pittsburgh hadn't scored five goals in the first period since beating Washington 7-3 on Dec. 26, 1990, according to STATS LLC.
Tampa Bay also gave up five goals in the first period Nov. 18 against Philadelphia, but came back to win 8-7.
"It (Washington) was an emotional game and we gave everything," coach Guy Boucher said. "The first goal right away set the tone for the rest of the game. We had no juice, nothing, and they had everything."
NOTES: The Penguins last scored eight goals during an 8-2 victory over Ottawa on Dec. 23, 2009. ... Jordan Staal, playing his first game at Consol Energy Center, was initially given an assist on Malkin's 15th goal, but it was later taken away. ... Pittsburgh is 10-2 against the Southeast Division. Tampa Bay is 7-2-2 against the Atlantic.
(This version CORRECTS Penguins 8, Lightning 1. New approach. Corrects to "scoring streak" in seventh paragraph.)