Penguins blank Knights as Alex Nedeljkovic earns shutout in return

Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned away all 38 shots he faced Sunday to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the visiting Vegas Golden Knights, 3-0.

It was Nedeljkovic’s first shutout of the season, the eighth of his career and his first against Vegas.

Ryan Graves, Noel Acciari and Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, who snapped a two-game losing streak in playing their third game in four nights and fourth game in six nights.

The shutout capped quite a weekend for Nedeljkovic, who came off long-term IR earlier in the day after a hand injury.

The 27-year-old, in his first season with Pittsburgh and pegged as the backup to Tristan Jarry, had not played in the NHL since Oct. 24. He started Friday for AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on a conditioning assignment and not only won that game, but also scored a goal.

Against Vegas, he helped the Penguins’ penalty kill go 3-for-3.

The Golden Knights have lost five of their past seven games (2-4-1) after an 11-0-1 start to the season coming off winning the Stanley Cup. They have managed 17 goals in their past seven games.

Vegas goaltender Adin Hill stopped 30 of 32 shots.

Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby had his 11-game points streak halted.

The Penguins scored a goal in each of the three periods.

Graves opened the scoring with his first goal with Pittsburgh. After a scramble around the crease, he deposited a rebound to make it 1-0 at 2:13 of the first.

At 11:39 of the second, Acciari also netted his first with Pittsburgh. A handful of players were in a battle for the puck behind the Golden Knights’ net. It squirted free off the Penguins’ Matt Nieto to Acciari, who was about 8 feet from the left post. He wristed the puck in with Hill leaning the wrong way after guessing wrong on which way the puck would come out.

Malkin scored an empty-netter with 1:18 left to seal it.

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