x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pens on verge of final fling

Evgeni Malkin scores twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 to move within one victory of the Eastern Conference title.

Evgeni Malkin scored two first-period goals as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 to move within one victory of the NHL's Eastern Conference title. The Penguins, who lead the best-of-seven series 3-0, can return to the Stanley Cup final for a second successive season with a win in Game Four in Raleigh on Tuesday. "Everybody wants to play in the final," Malkin said of the Penguins, who lost to the Detroit Red Wings last year.

Malkin, who scored a hattrick against the Hurricanes on Thursday, delivered his 11th and 12th goals of the post-season on Saturday in the Penguins' dominant first period. He now has six goals and three assists in the series against Carolina. "I think I play my best now," said the Russian centre. The Pens captain Sidney Crosby also netted in the first as Pittsburgh struck twice in the period's final 42.2 seconds, Malkin delivering his second 30 seconds later.

"He's in that zone right now," Crosby said. "He's dominant, for sure." Ruslan Fedotenko, Craig Adams and Bill Guerin collected Pittsburgh's other goals, all in the third period after Carolina had moved within 3-2. Matt Cullen and Sergei Samsonov scored for the Hurricanes. Cullen opened the scoring at 4:06 with Malkin providing the equaliser less than three minutes later on a power play. Crosby and Malkin made it a 3-1 game, before Samsonov's goal early in the third cut the deficit.

But that was as good as it would get for the Hurricanes as Pittsburgh took charge to put themselves on the verge of the Stanley Cup final. * Reuters