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Penguins Vs. Lightning: Evgeni Malkin Records Hat Trick As Pittsburgh Cruises, 8-1

The Penguins lit the lamp early and often on Saturday against the Lighting at the Consol Energy Center, and that was before Evgeni Malkin even got started on the ninth hat trick of his career in Pittsburgh's 8-1 victory.

Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal all scored goals in the first period to get the Penguins off to a hot start after one. Another Staal goal midway through the second period gave Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead before Malkin ripped off three straight goals of his own to ice the victory for Pittsburgh.

Pascal Dupuis scored late in the game to finish the scoring barrage.

Malkin finished the day with four points total as he picked up an assist on Kunitz's goal. The performance earns him a four-point advantage in the NHL scoring race despite entering the day in a tie with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos at 73 points each.

The Penguins return to the ice on Sunday when they host Columbus for another 1 p.m. faceoff at Consol.

For all the latest on the Penguins, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.