Pens go wild in Winnipeg

Winnipeg's Joel Armia (left) and Paul Postma (right) race for the puck with Pittsburgh's Scott Wilson during the second period. (AP)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) – Nick Bonino had a hat trick, Evgeni Malkin scored twice and added an assist and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 7-4 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.

Justin Schultz and Jake Guentzel also scored, and Matt Murray made 31 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins in the start of a five-game trip. Chad Ruhwedel had three assists, and Mark Streit and Conor Sheary each two.

Three of Pittsburgh’s goals came in a 57-second span in the second period, including two on the power play.

Connor Hellebuyck, making his 12th straight start, was pulled midway through the second period after allowing five goals on 15 shots for the Jets. He was replaced by Michael Hutchinson.

Shawn Matthais, Nikolaj Ehlers, Dustin Byfuglien and Marko Dano scored for Winnipeg.

The first period kept fans entertained with some retaliation, fights, an ejection and a 3-2 Jets lead.

Just over three minutes into the period, Jets captain Blake Wheeler and Malkin dropped the gloves. In the team’s last meeting Feb. 16 in Pittsburgh, Malkin hit Wheeler in the head and only drew a minor interference penalty. Wheeler ended up punching Malkin to the ice to loud cheers from fans at MTS Centre.

Two seconds after the pair went to the penalty box, Jets forward Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves with winger Tom Sestito, who was called up earlier in the day from the minors.

Matthais opened the scoring at 4:18, but Bonino put in his first goal 25 seconds later.

Jets forward Andrew Copp then had a goal disallowed for goaltender interference, but 32 seconds later Ehlers scored for a 2-1 lead.

Malkin netted his 30th goal of the season at 11:57 and then Sestito got a game misconduct for checking veteran Winnipeg defenseman Tobias Enstrom from behind into the boards. Enstrom left the game and didn’t return.

Sestito had just 1:02 of ice time, but was had 20 minutes in penalties before his ejection.

Byfuglien regained a 3-2 lead when he used a rebound to put the puck under Murray at 16:10.

Pittsburgh had a two-man advantage midway in second period and struck fast and hard in 57 seconds.

Schultz and Bonino each scored on the power play at 9:09 and 9:29, respectively, and Malkin made it 5-3 at 10:06.

Bonino then earned the hat trick with his 12th goal of the season at 18:32. Some local Pittsburgh fans even threw hats on the ice.


Penguins: At Edmonton on Friday.