Evgeni Malkin put on a show for Hall of Famer Vladislav Tretiak.
With Tretiak, the former Soviet goalie now serving as Russia’s Olympic hockey general manager, looking on last night in Pittsburgh, Malkin had his fourth career hat trick to help the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators, 8-2.
Malkin’s parents became minor celebrities in Pittsburgh in recent years, and the reigning league scoring champion seemed to have some of his better games when they were at Mellon Arena - and he always credited them afterward.
“He’s a good guy and of course a good goalie,’’ Malkin said of Tretiak. “Maybe he can come the next game; it’s good luck for me.’’
Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz tied a club record with four points apiece during Pittsburgh’s five-goal second period, when Ruslan Fedotenko also scored.
Sergei Gonchar added a goal and two assists and Sidney Crosby had three assists for the Penguins (26-11-1), who tied a season high for goals and matched New Jersey with 53 points to head into the holiday break tied atop the NHL standings.
“In a game like this a couple guys will have big nights and that’s good to see,’’ said Guerin, who had his first four-point game in almost three years.
The game couldn’t have gone worse for the Senators, who are expected to be without captain Daniel Alfredsson for at least a few weeks after he left late in the first period because of a left shoulder injury.
“I’ll probably see the doctor [today] and do an X-ray and see what the damage is,’’ said Alfredsson, whose arm was in a sling. “But I expect at least a few weeks.’’
The loss of the team’s career leader in virtually every relevant category and longest-serving captain in the league came on a night Ottawa welcomed back three regulars to the lineup after extended absences: goalie Pascal Leclaire (fractured cheekbone, out 15 games), winger Chris Neil (left knee, 14 games), and winger Shean Donovan (right knee, 17 games).
The Penguins’ Craig Adams hit Alfredsson while his head was down and he was battling for the puck with a Penguin in the left-wing corner, causing Alfredsson’s helmet to fly off and him to lay on the ice for a short time. Adams was not penalized.
Canadiens 5, Hurricanes 1 - Glen Metropolit scored two power-play goals after Andrei Markov had his third in three games, and visiting Montreal earned its third straight victory. Jaroslav Halak made 46 saves for the Canadiens, who led, 4-1, in the first period. Tomas Plekanec assisted on Montreal’s first three goals to push his three-game point total to nine.
Capitals 5, Sabres 2 - Nicklas Backstrom had two goals, Alex Ovechkin added a goal and two assists, and host Washington won a battle of division leaders.
Mike Green had a goal and an assist for the Southeast-leading Capitals, who have won nine of 12 games. Paul Gaustad and Tim Connolly scored for the Northeast-leading Sabres.
Coyotes 4, Ducks 0 - Ilya Bryzgalov made 21 saves for his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season and Phoenix posted its eighth straight home victory.
Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 0 - Antti Niemi made 33 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and his career, and Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist to lift visiting Chicago. Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews also scored for Chicago, which also shut out Detroit, 3-0, Sunday night in Chicago behind Cristobal Huet.
“We know whether it’s Antti or Huey, we’re going to get great goaltending,’’ Sharp said.
Detroit has gone 2 hours 21 minutes without a goal.
It was also Marian Hossa’s first game in Detroit after leaving the Red Wings last summer to sign a 12-year, $62 million free agent contract with the Blackhawks. He was booed when the starting lineups were announced and each time he touched the puck.
Flyers 5, Lightning 2 - Blair Betts and Mike Richards both scored two goals as visiting Philadelphia stopped a four-game skid and won for just the fourth time in its past 18 games. Betts had just one goal in his previous 16 games this season.
Wild 3, Oilers 1 - Niklas Backstrom continued his mastery of Edmonton, stopping 30 shots as host Minnesota snapped a two-game losing streak. Backstrom improved to 14-1 in his career against Edmonton.
Blues 2, Flames 1 - Brad Boyes and T.J. Oshie beat Miikka Kiprusoff in a shootout to give visiting St. Louis its third straight victory in Western Canada. Chris Mason made 23 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopped Calgary’s Nigel Dawes and Olli Jokinen in the shootout. The Blues were coming off victories in Vancouver and Edmonton.
Rangers 4, Panthers 1 - Vinny Prospal broke out of a 14-game scoring drought with two goals, and New York stretched its winning streak to four games with the victory at Madison Square Garden. Marian Gaborik scored his NHL-leading 26th goal on a shorthanded breakaway in the third period for the Rangers.
Stars 3, Blue Jackets 1 - James Neal scored twice, Alex Auld made 33 saves, and host Dallas dropped stumbling Columbus to 1-8-3 in December.
Islanders 3, Maple Leafs 1 - Trent Hunter and John Tavares scored 90 seconds apart in the second period, and Dwayne Roloson made 26 saves as New York salvaged the final game of a four-game homestand. Blake Comeau was awarded a goal with 34.9 seconds left after being taken down on a breakaway with an empty net.