Penguins notebook: Malkin clicking on power play |

Penguins notebook: Malkin clicking on power play

Evgeni Malkin is on pace for a career-high 27 power-play goals, and he’s done it from a setup position — the left corner — that’s easier for a right-handed shot to handle. Malkin, keep in mind, is left-handed. “A lot of people say we should have a right shot there, to one-time the puck,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “I find when he’s coming down on that backside, as a left shot, not in a one-time position, it’s a hard shot to pick up for a goaltender.” Malkin had seven man-advantage goals entering Friday’s game against Carolina. He’s on pace for 43, along with 109 points. Malkin’s career-high for power-play goals is 17.

• With goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury starting Friday’s game — on his 30th birthday, no less — backup Thomas Greiss will make his fifth start of the season Saturday at Carolina. All five of Greiss’ starts will have come on the road.

• The Penguins scratched Robert Bortuzzo and Beau Bennett on Friday. Bortuzzo was a healthy scratch, and Bennett is out until the second week of December with a lower-body injury.

• With an NHL-best 31 first-period goals, the Penguins scored first in 17 of their first 22 games, including eight of the first 11 at Consol Energy Center. “All teams try to get a good start, obviously, but Mike is really pushing to shoot early and create some spray in front of the net,” forward Patric Hornqvist said. “We’ve been really good on our starts.”

— Jason Mackey

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