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 got to 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 on Tuesday. If the Penguins can handle a pair of Eastern Conference also-rans they could head to New York to face the Rangers on Wednesday with a chance to tie the record.
Less than a day after the Penguins acquired six-time All-Star Jarome Iginla from Calgary for prospects and a 2013 first-round draft pick, 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.
MAPLE LEAFS 6, HURRICANES 3: In Toronto, Joffrey Lupul scored the go-ahead goal with 3:10 remaining, helping Toronto hold off a Carolina comeback.
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.
ISLANDERS 4, FLYERS 3, SO: In Philadelphia, Colin McDonald scored two goals, and Josh Bailey tallied the clinching score in the shootout to lift New York to its fourth straight road victory.
John Tavares also scored for the Islanders, who improved to 10-4-1 away from home to pull into a tie with the Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
SENATORS 3, RANGERS 0: In Ottawa, Ontario, Ben Bishop turned aside 24 shots to earn his second career NHL shutout in lifting Ottawa.
Andre Benoit, Guillaume Latendresse and Colin Greening scored for the Senators, and Mika Zibanejad and Chris Neil chipped in with two assists apiece.
PANTHERS 5, SABRES 4, SO: In Sunrise, Fla., Mike Santorelli scored the winning goal in the shootout to lift Florida.
Jonathan Huberdeau also scored in the shootout for the Panthers and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo.
Shawn Matthias had two goals in regulation and Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Fleischmann also scored for the Panthers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
KINGS 4, BLUES 2: In St. Louis, Mike Richards scored the go-ahead goal with 2:43 to play to lead Los Angeles.