Whenever the biggest story coming out of a game is Marc-Andre Fleury missing his first NHL goal by six inches, it probably means that the Penguins won. Columbus is second to last in the Metropolitan Division and their missing Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. They are also without Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton. To add to that, Evgeni Malkin made his return to the lineup after missing two games with a lower body injury.
The return of Malkin was much appreciated after it was announced that James Neal has been suspended for the next five games after kneeing Brad Marchand in the head on Saturday. Also, Brooks Orpik was missing after getting mugged by Shawn Thornton and suffering a concussion.
Star power was just too much for the Blue Jackets to handle. Malkin put the Pens on the board in the second period. Sidney Crosby also scored for the Pens. Matt Calvert made it interesting with a goal to pull Columbus within one with less than a minute left in regulation but it was too little, too late.
Malkin’s goal was a tremendous individual effort. He made a move past Jack Johnson and was able to lift the puck over the stick of Curtis McElhinney to extend his point streak to ten games. Crosby’s goal came on a centering pass from Pascal Dupuis that deflected off of Crosby’s knee in front of the net and behind the Columbus net minder.
Fleury made 32 saves in net for the Penguins. He fell just short of a shutout as well as his first goal.
The Penguins called up Harry Zolnierczyk and Brian Dumoulin prior to the game. Both of them were healthy scratches.
The New Jersey Devils will come to town for the Penguins next game on Friday.