Bonino had three goals to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 7-4 for their third win in a row. Malkin scored his 30th and 31st goals had a ”Gordie Howe hat trick” – a goal, an assist and a fight.
It was Bonino’s second career three-goal game, and gave him 12 on the season.
”The first one went in and you’re always feeling a little bit better, and then it just seemed like the puck was finding the net for (us) tonight,” said Bonino, whose first hat trick was in February 2013 when he played for Anaheim. ”I can’t really explain it, but guys made great passes and guys forechecked hard and the puck just found my stick and found the net.”
Just over three minutes into the first 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 wanted retribution and ended up punching Malkin to the ice.
”I respect his leadership,” Malkin said. ”This guy, he’s a great player. I’m ready, you know? But it’s not my greatest fight. I respect this guy. It’s fine, just a couple punches and I lost. One fight is enough for me.”
Wheeler was glad they tangled.
”A lot of respect for him answering the bell,” Wheeler said. ”He didn’t have to do that so it was good to get that out of the way right away and focus on the rest of the game.”
Justin Schultz and Jake Guentzel also scored for the Penguins. Matt Murray made 31 saves to set a team record for wins by a rookie with 25, passing Gary Inness’ mark set in 1974-75.
Three of Pittsburgh’s goals came in a 57-second span in the second, 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.
”We had our chances on the power play and it wasn’t good enough,” Jets center Bryan Little said.
The first period kept fans entertained with some retaliation, fights, an ejection and a 3-2 Jets lead.
Two seconds after the Malkin fought Wheeler, Jets forward Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves with winger Tom Sestito, who was called up earlier in the day from the minors.
Sestito later got a game misconduct for checking veteran Winnipeg defenseman Tobias Enstrom from behind into the boards. Enstrom left the game and didn’t return.
”Toby is in the hospital now, he’s getting checked for facial fractures,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said. ”We will have a better idea tomorrow.”
Sestito had just 1:02 of ice time, but was had 20 minutes in penalties before his ejection.
Notes In keeping with the chippy theme, Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry exited the game at 14:16 of the third after getting a 10-minute misconduct following a late hit on Malkin. … Guentzel has nine goals this season. … Pittsburgh forward Patric Hornqvist was a late scratch.
Penguins: At Edmonton on Friday.
Jets: Hosts Calgary on Saturday.
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