PITTSBURGH – Evgeni Malkin scored a hat trick to help the Pittsburgh Penguins rally past the Vancouver Canucks for a 5-4 victory on Saturday.
It was the 10th hat trick of his career and first since Feb. 25, 2012. Malkin, who leads the team with 23 goals and 47 points, has 19 points in his last 15 games.
Sidney Crosby had a point in a season-best sixth straight game when he scored an empty net goal. It was his 16th of the season and proved to be the game winner. Bryan Rust scored his second of the season for the Penguins, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit for the second time in as many games.
Pittsburgh, which scored three third-period goals in 5:44, trailed by two goals in seven of its previous 11 games and came back to earn points in six of those seven instances.
The Penguins (23-17-7), currently riding a seven-game home point streak, won six of their last eight against the Canucks (20-18-11). They are 8-3-4 after losing their first four games under new coach Mike Sullivan, who was an assistant with the Canucks last season.
Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen also netted a hat trick, the second of his career, and now has 16 goals. Bo Horvat scored his ninth for the Canucks, who had a chance to finish their six-game road trip with four wins and nine of 12 possible points.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots for his sixth straight decision against the Canucks. Ryan Miller made 25 saves for Vancouver.
Horvat put Vancouver ahead 3-1 six minutes into the third period, beating Fleury high to the glove side with a sharp wrist shot from between the circles.
Malkin tied it on a pair of goals scored 3:06 apart.
His second goal came on a fluky bounce as he centred the puck, but Vancouver’s Linden Vey knocked it into his own net. Malkin completed his hat trick with a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot.
Rust put Pittsburgh in front, 4-3, when he threw a shot on goal from that point that rolled past a screened Miller. Crosby scored an empty-net goal and Hansen pulled the Canucks within a goal in the final minute.
The Penguins’ next game, which had been scheduled for Sunday against the Washington Capitals, was postponed because of a severe snowstorm. Saturday’s game was announced as a standing-room only sellout, but empty seats were noticeable in Consol Energy Center one game after the franchise celebrated its 400th consecutive sellout.
Sullivan had cautioned his players to be safe when driving to the arena. The Canucks’ team bus couldn’t make it up a hill near Consol Energy Center, forcing players to walk to the arena.
Hansen scored 27 seconds into the game for the Canucks, beating Fleury with a high wrist shot to the blocker side after a rush down the right-wing boards.
Hansen scored his second of the game later in the period, this one a short-handed goal during a two-on-one. Derek Dorsett’s initial shot rang off the crossbar and Hansen put the rebound behind an out-of-position Fleury.
Pittsburgh scored six seconds into a second-period two-man advantage as Malkin’s slap shot from the right point cut the deficit in half. The Penguins have 12 power play goals in their last 12 games.
NOTES: Penguins’ F Chris Kunitz was a late scratch after suffering a lower body injury Thursday against Philadelphia…Penguins’ D Derrick Pouliot made his season debut and F Beau Bennett played after missing 17 games with an upper body injury…Pouliot, a 2012 first-round pick, played 34 games for Pittsburgh last season with two goals and seven points, while Bennett hadn’t played since Dec. 14 against Washington…Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter and Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino, key players in an off-season trade between the two teams, both missed Saturday’s game because of injuries..Vancouver begins a three-game homestand Tuesday against Nashville…The Canucks will play six of their next eight at home.