Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

After His Two-Goal, Two-Assist Game against the Washington Capitals Friday ... [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

After His Two-Goal, Two-Assist Game against the Washington Capitals Friday ... [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

After his two-goal, two-assist game against the Washington Capitals Friday night, Evgeni Malkin half-joked that he was trying to stay as low-key as possible during his recent red-hot scoring surge.

"I'm trying to be quiet," he said. "I'm trying to play my game. I understand the hockey gods are helping me right now."

That's an understatement.

Even if Malkin has had the fortune of some "lucky" goals - as he has become fond of saying in a self-deprecating way this season - the sheer number of pucks he has put in the back of the net the past few weeks is impossible not to notice.

Sorry, Geno.

"We're aware," defenseman Justin Schultz said. "It's pretty noticeable how good he's been. We just try to get him the puck."

The Penguins did so again Tuesday night, when Malkin scored against former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury, his 30th goal of the season, in the third period of the Penguins' 5-4 win against Vegas. Fleury had stopped Malkin with one of his patented poke-checks earlier in the game, but when Malkin got a chance on a 2-on-1 with Phil Kessel early in the third, he buried a wrist shot past Fleury's blocker.

Malkin has scored nine goals in his past five games, and 16 in his past 13. Since the calendar flipped to 2018, Malkin's 16 goals lead the NHL. His next closest competitor is Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, who has 11.

Perhaps most impressive for Malkin is this torrid run has come on the heels of a so-so first half. From October through December, Malkin had 13 goals, which placed him in a tie for 48th among all NHL players.

Now, he has done enough in the past month to establish himself as a legitimate contender for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, given to the player with the most goals in a season. Malkin is just two behind league-leader Alex Ovechkin's 32.

"He's playing well right now," defenseman Kris Letang said. "Every time he hops on the ice, he's going. He fuels our team."

That last part is significant. Malkin's scoring binge has come at a time when the Penguins have desperately needed it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.