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Evgeni Malkin, The Playoff Performer

from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,

Jake Guentzel for the Conn Smythe, people are saying. The kid who specializes in goal-scoring and short sentences scored the winner in Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup final, and the Pittsburgh winger leads all scorers with 12 goals in 21 playoff games, despite going eight games without one. He’s doing well, the Guentzel kid. Nice year.

Which is, in some small inexact way, a typical story of Evgeni Malkin’s hockey life. Only Sidney Crosby and Peter Forsberg have outpaced him in points per game in the last 20 years; the only active players who have scored more goals per game are Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Crosby by a whisker. Malkin’s omission alone rendered the NHL’s Greatest 100 Players list a farce.

Oh, and he leads the NHL in playoff scoring, with nine goals and 17 assists in 21 games, and goals in each of the first two games of the final. In Game 2 he concluded Pittsburgh’s third-period blitz by taking a puck along the boards, flying down the ice and releasing a precise, wrist-flick shot that beat a shrinking Pekka Rinne by a mile, right at the intersection of the crossbar and post and in. A beast.

“I think his play speaks for itself,” said Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan. “He’s one of those guys that we have on our team that has the ability to make a difference in one or two shifts. You saw that last night. Although I thought he competed hard most of the night, the goal he scored is a goal-scorer’s goal.”

It’s not like Malkin is ignored. But his career has been a fascinating study, if for no other reason than the only clearly better player of the era is on his team.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+malkin



When Malkin turns it on (when he feels like it), there’s very few players in the game right now that can “will” their team to victory the way he can.  Just like his point total, Malkin has wider frequency of up and down play, which comparatively, Crosby is pretty much more or less steady start to finish all game, all year, all of his career.  Malkin has some low valleys which have kinda dragged his legacy down, but I’ll always argue he can get his peaks, however acute they may be, higher than anyone else in the game.

Posted by PMP5030 on 06/02/17 at 11:45 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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