Evgeni Malkin Has Decided To Dominate Again


Evgeni Malkin was on his way to another fine season in which he was producing around a point per game for the 8th time in his career. This was just two weeks ago that Malkin had played in 52 games with 53 points (21 G – 32 A). For most players in the NHL, producing at that rate would be a career season, but not for Evgeni Malkin. Statistically he was one pace for one of the worst seasons of his career. 

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However, over the last two weeks and five Pittsburgh Penguin games, Evgeni Malkin has produced 11 points (5 G -6 A). In two short weeks he has moved from outside the top ten in scoring to tied for second with 64 points. Quite a turnaround for any player. This is nothing new for the Russian superstar.

I’ve said it before, Evgeni Malkin is the most talented player in the entire league, yes even more so than fellow Penguin superstar Sidney Crosby. Unlike Crosby, Evgeni Malkin is known to be a very streaky player who can become the most unstoppable player in the league when he wants to. There are times where Evgeni Malkin is physically on the ice, but he fails to noticeably impact the game.

Dec 3, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) is congratulated by Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) and Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) and Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal (18) after scoring the game-tying goal against the New York Islanders during the third period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Realistically, playing behind Sidney Crosby probably mentally does not prepare Malkin to play at his highest level every night and that is a good thing. Sidney Crosby gives his all every night and sometimes he can get exhausted from doing so, and during those times Evgeni Malkin raises his level of play to make up for that.

If Malkin did not have the luxury of playing with Sidney Crosby, there is no doubt that he would be that unstoppable force every single game. However, it is a double edged sword and this can cause him to be worn out by the playoffs.

Look back to his award winning 2011-2012 campaign where Malkin (playing with Chris Kunitz and James Neal) produced an astounding 109 points (50 G – 59 A) in just 75 games. Yes Evgeni Malkin was playing without Crosby and was the most dominant player in the league, but when the playoffs came around he was worn out.

The Pittsburgh Penguins relied too heavily on the top line to carry the team. While Malkin produced statistically, 6 games and 8 points (3 G – 5 A) he lacked the explosion he showed in the regular season.

I expect this season to finish out how they normally do. Evgeni Malkin cranks up his level of play now and carries that into the postseason. It really is not a bad thing if Malkin is not as dominant during the first half of the season because if there is one player who single handedly can change a playoff series, it is Evgeni Malkin.