The Penguins put together a workman-like performance collecting 40 shots on goal, and Matt Niskanen (3), Dustin Jeffrey (1) scored third period goals, leading to the Pittsburgh Penguins (12-6-0, 24 pts) to a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night at the Consol Energy Center.
Niskanen’s game winner came at 7:49 of the third period, firing a slap shot from the point past Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. Markstrom had a strong game making 37 saves but the Niskanen goal was one he’d like back as he failed to make a routine glove save with no traffic in front.
Dustin Jeffrey then scored his first goal in over a year, redirecting a shot from Matt Cooke at 15:15 who made a great feed to Jeffrey in front for the goal.
“I thought I got better as the game went on,” Jeffrey said of his performance, appearing in just his second game this month. “We were able to contribute on the score sheet as well, ” Jeffrey said.
Chris Kunitz (7) also scored, a power play marker at 10:41 of the second period as the Penguins have now scored a power play goal in 10 straight games.
All eyes after the game, though, were on Evgeni Malkin who left the game in the third period after he got tangled up with Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson while driving to the net and the back of Malkin’s head hit hard into the boards in what looked like whiplash.
Malkin remained down on the ice for several moments, but skated off the ice on his own with team trainers. He did not return to the game and there was no update on him after the game. {Malkin is being} “further evaluated this evening,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “We’ll know more tomorrow.”