PITTSBURGH – When Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma shuffled the lines in search of a spark for his slumping offense, putting Evgeni Malkin and rookie Brian Gibbons on the ice together wasn’t what he had in mind.
Still, he’ll take it.
Gibbons converted a slick backhand pass from Malkin for his first NHL goal at 3:56 of the third period, starting a late burst as the Penguins beat the weary Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Monday night.
Called up from the minors 12 hours before the opening faceoff, the 25-year-old Gibbons was thrown immediately onto Pittsburgh’s third line. He ended up on the ice with Malkin after the Penguins were caught in the middle of a shift change.
While watching Malkin do a full lap through the Anaheim zone, Gibbons sprinted to the slot, took the pass and sent a shot over Viktor Fasth’s right shoulder to break a scoreless tie.
I was just trying to get to the net and bang home a rebound or something, Gibbons said. Somehow it ended up right on my stick.
BRUINS 4, HURRICANES 1: In Raleigh, N.C., Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg had a goal and an assist each in the first period to lead Boston.
FLAMES 5, JETS 4, SO: In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sean Monahan scored the winning goal in the eighth round of a shootout and as Calgary snapped a six-game losing streak.