Niskanen leads Pens past Flames

BY foxsports • October 8, 2011

Evgeni Malkin, Craig Adams and Tyler Kennedy scored to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which improved to 2-0 on the season and on their Western Canadian tour.

Jordan Staal added an empty-net goal for the Penguins.

Curtis Glencross, Rene Bourque and Olli Jokinen scored for the Flames in Calgary's first game of the season.

Pittsburgh's season-opener was a 4-3 shootout victory in Vancouver on Thursday.

Pittsburgh plays at Edmonton on Sunday before returning home to face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 17 saves for the win, while Calgary counterpart Miikka Kiprusoff, who needs one win to become the franchise leader at 263, stopped 32 shots.

The Penguins are still without captain Sidney Crosby, who is skating with the team on their road trip, but not yet cleared for contact.

He played 41 games last season before suffering concussions in January that ended his season. Crosby scored a hat trick in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win the last time these two clubs met Nov. 27, 2010.

Even without Crosby, the Penguins have a talented lineup led by centers Malkin and Staal and defenseman Kris Letang.

It was all Pittsburgh in the second period as the visitors outshot Calgary 16-5. After Malkin made it 4-1, tempers flared.

The Penguins took exception to a check on Matt Cooke by Flames defenseman Cory Sarich and that prompted a line rumble near Calgary's net.

Malkin later threw a couple punches at Glencross and both were sent to the penalty box for roughing and slashing respectively.

Calgary scored twice in the third period to pull within a goal. After Fleury bobbled the puck behind his own net, Niklas Hagman backhanded the puck to Jokinen out front and the Finn beat Fleury stick side at 16:23.

Calgary's Bourque made it 4-2 in the third, deflecting an Alex Tanguay shot by the Pittsburgh goalie at 9:08.

Malkin tucked a rebound by Kiprusoff at 13:01 of the second period for a power-play goal. It was the big Russian's first of the season although he scored during the shootout in Vancouver. Adams made it 3-1 at 10:11, tapping the puck past Kiprusoff from the slot.

Niskanen gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at 6:40 when Calgary was serving a penalty for too many men.

Niskanen batted in a rebound off Kiprusoff's outstretched pad for the defenseman's second goal as a Penguin since he was acquired from Dallas last season.

Pittsburgh caught Calgary's power play off guard when Pascal Dupuis head-manned the puck to Kennedy stepping out of the penalty box.

With the Penguins rushing Calgary's zone, Kennedy opted to keep the puck and put a wrist shot between Kiprusoff's pads at 1:04.

Calgary had nine days between its final preseason game and first of the regular season. The Flames didn't have their opening night lineup intact for preseason games because of injuries, however. Captain Jarome Iginla didn't play a game until Saturday because of back spasms he experienced the first day of training camp.

Calgary moved the puck quickly in Pittsburgh's zone in the opening minutes to create scoring chances, but didn't get its first goal of the season until 15:32 to take a 1-0 lead into the second period.

Flames defenseman and new assistant captain Mark Giordano drove the net and passed cross-ice to Glencross, whose shot from the faceoff circle deflected off Fleury and into the net.

Pittsburgh plays its first three games away from home for just the second time in its history. The only other instance was the lockout-shortened season of 1994-95, when it defeated Tampa Bay, Florida and New York in January.

Notes: Center Roman Horak, 20, had an assist for Calgary in his NHL debut . . . Jordan Staal collected his 200th career point assisting on Niskanen's goal. ... Calgary forward Niklas Hagman played his 700th career game Saturday. ... Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik was scratched with a lower-body injury.

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