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Pens shut down Coyotes to win six in a row

(Reuters) - Marc-Andre Fleury shut down Phoenix with 36 saves as the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins beat the visiting Coyotes 2-1 on Monday to record their sixth consecutive victory.

Zbynek Michalek and Chris Kunitz scored first-period goals for Pittsburgh. Netminder Fleury's shutout bid was spoiled in the third period when Ray Whitney netted a goal less than two minutes in.

Fleury picked up his 35th win of the season to move within one of league leader Pekka Rinne of Nashville.

"That's good, but I don't know, I'm not chasing anything," Fleury told reporters. "I just want to keep winning, getting points as a team and climbing in the standings."

The defeat was the Coyotes' (33-24-9) third in a row and they have cooled off considerably since winning every game but one during the month of February.

Their latest defeat leaves them tied with Dallas at the top of the Pacific Division on 75 points. The problems for Phoenix have come in the first period where they have been outscored 12-2 over their last seven games.

"We've been chasing the game every single night for the last four or five, and the last three have cost us," said captain Shane Doan. "We wanted to get our game turned around, we weren't happy with our last two games at all, and tonight we played closer to what we need to."

The Penguins (39-21-5) have scored the second-most points (83) in the Eastern Conference, but are seeded fourth by virtue of being in second place in the Atlantic Division behind the conference-leading New York Rangers.

Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin picked up his 43rd assist of the season, moving him a point ahead of Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL lead.

Malkin is also one point away from reaching 500 for his career.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)