NHL Hockey

Final 1 2 3 Tot
Arizona 0 0 1 1
Pittsburgh 2 0 1 3
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, November 7, 2017
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 18,498

Penguins beat Coyotes for fifth straight home win

(Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has done some line shuffling in recent weeks to try to spark more scoring. During a western road trip that ended over the weekend, he separated stars Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel after throwing them together for several games earlier in the season.

Back home Tuesday night, Sullivan reunited those two, and Malkin and Kessel sparked a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at PPG Paints Arena with a goal and two assists each.

Malkin, who was mildly critical of the chemistry between him and Kessel earlier, warned that even after a strong game Tuesday their play together is still a work in progress.

"It's one game," Malkin said. "We're excited to play together, but we need to understand it's one game. It's important but now we need to do it more the next game against Washington and Nashville, same level."

Those games are on the road later this week. In the meantime, Sullivan was still basking in the performance of Malkin, Kessel and Jake Guentzel, who had an assist. They combined for eight shots.

"I thought their line was terrific," Sullivan said. "They had a lot of possession time. They had a lot of zone time. They were threats most shifts."

Kessel's three-point game, his fourth multiple-pointer of the season, gave him a team-leading 19.

Justin Schultz also scored for the Penguins (9-6-2), who held on after taking a 2-0 lead in the opening 3 1/2 minutes.

Pittsburgh has won five straight home games; they were returning from a 1-3-1 western road trip.

The Penguins are 5-1-1 in their past seven games against the Coyotes and have won four in a row at home in the series.

Tobias Rieder scored for Arizona (2-13-2), which was trying to stack together three games in a row with at least a point for the first time this season.

Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray (9-3-1) stopped 24 shots. Antti Raanta (1-3-1) made 34 saves for the Coyotes.

Schultz returned from a concussion after missing six games and opened the scoring.

Malkin, from the top of the left circle, sent a relatively soft feed to Schultz, who had pinched in deep and was below the same circle. Schultz's severe-angle one-timer went in off of Raanta for a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead 59 seconds into the game.

"We were on a rush, and I just ended up (deep)," Schultz said. "I found some open ice and (Malkin) made a pass to me. Lucky to go in."

Malkin made it 2-0 at 3:07 of the first. Kessel's shot from near the right dot glanced off the stick of Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton and was stopped by Raanta, but the rebound came to Malkin just above the crease, and he flipped in the rebound.

"It's very important," Malkin said of scoring early. "We showed we're ready to play."

Rieder's goal, making it 2-1, ended a shutout string of 162:17 by the Penguins at home against Arizona. He moved in from the left point on a semi-breakaway and lofted a shot over Murray's glove 26 seconds into the third.

It was Rieder's third goal but his first since Oct. 10.

"Sometimes you just feel it. You get the bounces. The puck is your friend, and your legs are just moving. Yeah, I just felt it," he said. "I needed that. It felt good, but it wasn't enough for a point or for a win tonight."

Kessel added some insurance with a power-play goal at 6:06 of the third. Malkin's shot from the left circle popped high off of Raanta's mask. Kessel, at the right post, waited for it to come down below the crossbar and tipped it behind the goalie to make it 3-1. Pittsburgh was 0-for-5 on the power play before that goal.

Arizona, coming off an overtime loss at Washington a night earlier, could not muster a push-back.

"I think we were there, but still, I think the last push was kind of missing," Raanta said. "That's pretty much what you get with a back-to-back and you give up two quick goals early on in a game. As a goalie, you don't want to do that.

"The first 10 minutes are usually crucial, and the first one was that kind of goal you don't want to let it. It was tough for the team after those two goals."

NOTES: Pittsburgh D Matt Hunwick (concussion) missed his 11th game, although he has resumed practicing and took the morning skate. ... Pittsburgh D Zach Trotman was reassigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. ... Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan moved into sole possession of fifth place in team history with his 92nd win. ... Pittsburgh C Riley Sheahan played in his 300th NHL game. ... Arizona G Antti Raanta played in his 100th NHL game, while D Kevin Connauton played in his 200th NHL game. ... The Penguins showed a video tribute to Arizona coach Rick Tocchet, who won the Stanley Cup as a Pittsburgh assistant the past two years.

Updated November 7, 2017

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