CHICAGO (AP) — From start to finish, it was an emotional night for Evgeni Malkin.
Complete with a very happy ending.
Malkin scored in his 1,000th NHL game, helping Pittsburgh close out a 3-0 road trip after a 3-0 win at Winnipeg on Saturday night. Rickard Rakell had a goal and an assist, and Brock McGinn also scored for the Penguins.
“A little bit hard for me. A new experience,” Malkin said. “I'm glad we win. I would like to say thank you to Sid.”
The Penguins surprised Malkin with a pregame appearance by his son, Nikita, who read out the starting lineup — including his dad — in the locker room. Then Malkin's teammates paid tribute to the 36-year-old center by copying his usual stretching routine during pregame warmups.
“I feel like it's like yesterday I played my first game,” Malkin said, “and like tonight, it's 1,000th game. It's just crazy how fast this time (went).”
Pittsburgh had a 3-2 lead before Phillipp Kurashev tied it for Chicago with a third-period shot from the corner behind the goal. But Crosby responded for the Penguins with 3:14 left, scoring his 10th of the season on a nice move in front.
Crosby, who has four goals and seven assists in his last four games, then tapped the puck over to Jeff Carter for an empty-netter in the final seconds.
“Unfortunately, we played from behind,” coach Luke Richardson said. “It's really difficult, but give them credit, they came back. ... We just got to make sure we're able to sustain that right to the end.”
Malkin's eighth goal of the season and No. 452 for his career lifted Pittsburgh to a 2-0 lead 2:27 into the second period. He skated to the front of the goal and knocked home a great feed from Ryan Poehling.
“We all know what Geno means to the city of Pittsburgh and this organization and the legacy that he’s built,” coach Mike Sullivan said. "I know it was a special night for him. His family was here to celebrate with him, which was terrific. I think it just makes the experience that much more memorable, the fact that we come out on the winning column, for sure.”
Rakell then beat Arvid Soderblom with a sharp-angled shot from the left circle that went in off the goaltender's right skate, making it 3-0 at 4:07.
Chicago, which lost 6-1 at Boston on Saturday night, responded with two goals in the final 10:21 of the period. First, Jason Dickinson set up Khaira's second of the season. Then Kane beat Casey DeSmith off a slick feed from Jonathan Toews.
It was Kane's first goal since Oct. 27 against Edmonton and No. 3 on the season, stopping a 10-game drought.
It was Crosby's first career goal at the United Center.
The Blackhawks retired Marian Hossa's No. 81 jersey during a pregame ceremony that included a light show and video highlights from the forward's Hall of Fame career. Hossa was joined at center ice by his family and six former teammates from his three Stanley Cup titles in Chicago; defensemen Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and forwards Toews, Kane and Patrick Sharp.
Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson was in the mix to return against Pittsburgh, but Richardson said Johnson experienced some soreness after taking some contact a couple days ago.
Johnson hurt his right ankle in a collision with Florida forward Aleksander Barkov during Chicago’s 4-2 win on Oct. 25.
“Not a step back. We're just being a little bit more careful with it,” Richardson said.
Penguins: Home against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Blackhawks: At the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.
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Jay Cohen, The Associated Press