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SportsPulse: NHL insider Kevin Allen breaks down the first half of the season and gives us his picks for best story line, MVP and rookie of the year.
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — 

Evgeni Malkin had two goals and two assists, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday for their third consecutive victory.

Phil Kessel added a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, which had dropped its last three games against Detroit. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and rookie Tristan Jarry stopped 29 shots in his third straight start while Matt Murray is home in Canada tending to a personal family matter.

The Penguins have won four of five after dropping seven of their previous 10. Their three-game win streak is their longest since they won four in a row from late November into December.

Justin Abdelkader scored for the Red Wings, who lost their second straight after a four-game winning streak. Jimmy Howard made 32 saves after missing one game with a lower-body injury.

The Penguins and Red Wings played for the first time since a league-mandated five-day break.

Malkin opened the scoring at 3:01 of the first period. Carl Hagelin, from behind the net, fed the puck in the slot to Malkin, who beat Howard to the glove side.

The teams traded power-play goals later in the period.

Abdelkader tied it with a shot between Jarry’s pads and Kessel gave Pittsburgh the lead when he one-touched a Crosby pass behind Howard from in close. The Penguins, the No. 1 unit in the league, has 12 power-play goals in their last 10 games.

Detroit had just one power-play goal in its previous seven games entering Saturday’s contest.

Malkin gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead just 2:08 into the second when he beat Howard to the blocker side from a Kessel feed. Malkin has scored in three straight games. He has 14 points in his last eight games and 12 goals in his last 19 contests.

Crosby’s third-period power-play goal off a pass from Kessel gave Pittsburgh a three-goal lead. Kessel has eight points in his last five games, while Crosby has 10 in his last five.

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