Blog Entry

Malkin makes it happen

Posted on: May 6, 2009 11:36 pm

Three seasons into his NHL career, Evgeni Malkin still hasn't mastered the English language. But he understood the message.

He had to. It was clear enough not to require any translation and it was pretty obvious too. Malkin, this season's scoring champion and MVP finalist, had to get his game going, or his Pittsburgh Penguins were gone. Simple as that. The Penguins were not going to come back if they fell behind three games to none against the Washington Capitals and they weren't going to avoid that hole if Sidney Crosby was their only superstar playing to his potential.

So after going missing in action for the first two games of this incredible series, Malkin figured it out and re-emerged in a major way tonight. So did the Penguins, not so coincidentally. Coming home facing a must win situation, Pittsburgh recovered from the shell shock of an early Alex Ovechkin goal off a freak bounce and went on to a heart stopping and entirely deserved 3-2 overtime win, with Malkin leading the way.

"It was great to see him respond," said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. "He was at a different level tonight."

No kidding. Never mind the fact his only reference in the game summary is a goal, albeit a crucial one that briefly put the Penguins ahead 2-1 late in the third period, Malkin was a horse and easily the best skater on the ice. He played nearly 30 minutes, took nine shots, crashed the net at every opportunity and basically took charge every time he was on the ice.

It was a performance for the ages, and really it had to be for the Penguins because it was matched by Washington goalie Simeon Varlamov. The sensational rookie, who has become the breakout player of these playoffs, made 39 saves, several of them of the miraculous variety and gave his team a chance to win a game it did not deserve.

Ovechkin's goal got Washington off to the kind of start it wanted in a very loud building on the road, but the Penguins gradually regained their composure and eventually looked like they were skating downhill. Pittsburgh outshot the Capitals 26-10 over the second and third period and would not have required overtime had Varlamov been any less brilliant.

Varlamov's acrobatics kept the Penguins from scoring on five consecutive power plays and the lunging save he off Pascal Dupuis in the third period will be getting a lot of views on YouTube in the days to come. If it wasn't for Kris Letang's shot in overtime changing directions after hitting Caps defenseman Shaone Morrisonn, the game might still be going.

Instead it made this a series.
Category: NHL

Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: May 8, 2009 2:02 am

Malkin makes it happen

I am sorry, I fail to see your logic in why Malkin is underpaid or doesnt perform. The guy took a contract knowing he will be second to Crosby. And if you think he hasnt performed in the playoffs, why not take at what defenses are doing to shut him down. I realize that Crosby faces the same situations but maybe Malkin is still too young to overcome that. Did any of you who wrote him off ever think of his age? After all he is only 21 maybe 22? What were any of you doin at that age? Let me guess, still sleepin your moms home in your old room, right? So next time to try to take shots at Malkin, give the guy benefit of the doubt and realize he is hands down 1 of the best players in the game. However, I do agree he needs to step it up in the playoffs.

Since: May 1, 2009
Posted on: May 8, 2009 1:17 am

Malkin makes it happen

If MAlkin catches fire now and keeps contributing, the Washington Capitals won't stand a chance against the Pens.  Game 4 is extremely important to the Capitals.  If they lose tomorrow, the Pens will have all the momentum in the world to advance! 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2009 5:02 pm

Malkin makes it happen

Malkin has the exact same deal as Crosby he just signed it a year later.

Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: May 7, 2009 4:05 pm

Malkin makes it happen

 albeit with his limited skills (compared to Alexander Ovechkin - of course Tongue out )

What skills are you exactly talking about? Yes his shot is much better than Crosby's and he hits much better than Crosby, but Crosby is as good if not better in everything else. Skating? Crosby. Passing? Crosby. Stick handling? Crosby. Defense? Crosby. Ovechkin doesn't even have to take faceoffs. I'm not trying to take away from Ovechkin at all. He is great. But there is more to being a great player than shooting and scoring goals.

People just don't like Crosby and since Ovechkin is one of the few players in Crosby's league they automatically say Ovechkin is obviously superior. In reality, they are completely different players who are equally good at what they do best.

Since: May 5, 2009
Posted on: May 7, 2009 2:31 pm

Malkin makes it happen

you are an idiot.

Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2009 2:14 pm

Malkin makes it happen

I have been arguing with people this whole series when I hear them saying that. I live in Pittsburgh and am a Big Penguins fans but I am also not biased. When someone is playing bad I admit it and when someone is playing good I admit that as well, whether I like the person or not. Malking has but as good as anyone in the postseason. He led the league in Post Season points through Round 1 and still people say he isn't showing up. He played good the first two games and people say he played terrible. Maybe that has something to do with the expectations of how good he has been the past couple of seasons but I believe it is more related to the fact that people have no sense of hockey and only count scoring as good. Malkin has been playing with two terrible linemates is the better comment in the first two games but not that Malkin hasn't showed up. That is a crock because 95% of the NHL Players would take having 2 points after 2 games in this Playoff series. I also agree that Jordan Staal is out to lunch if you want to talk about one of the Penguins Centers. He has played poorly.

Since: Dec 22, 2007
Posted on: May 7, 2009 1:15 pm

Malkin makes it happen

Much better effort from Malkin in game 3.  Although if he showed up in the first 2 maybe some people would lay off on the critquing a bit.  It is the playoffs, eh?  Not a Crosby fan, due to his "not complaining" Cry about the excessive hat display but at least he tries, albeit with his limited skills (compared to Alexander Ovechkin - of course Tongue out )

- Go Wings .

Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: May 7, 2009 11:26 am

Malkin makes it happen

I can see why Puckoff has a 0 Reputation because the guy does not know what he is talking about.  Go back to work and yes I will have fries with that.

The Pens deserved the win and had almost twice the amount of shoots and a bunch more scoring chances and hits.  Honestly I felt the Pens outplayed the Caps in all 3 games but goaltending has been the differance.  The Flyers played us much more even than the Caps have.  The ice has been tilted in our favor for the majority of the minutes in all 3 games. 

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2009 11:24 am

Malkin makes it happen

People seem to value a player's performance based on goals.  If Evegeni Malkin doesn't score for a few games, he must not be playing good hockey.  He must have packed it in until next season.  That's just a load of crap.

Malkin has played good all postseason.  However, he stepped it up to a higher level last night.  Last night he was better than Alex Ovechkin.  He was better than Sidney Crosby.  Actually, he was better than both of them during the regular season too.  Ovechkin is a dynamic goal scorer.  Malkin is a goal scorer to a lesser degree, but also a great passer and playmaker.  That's where he has the advantage over Ovechkin.  Crosby is somewhat of a goal scorer just because of the talent he has and effort he gives, but he is easily the best passer and playmaker in the game.  So you have Ovechkin, the great goal scorer, and Crosby, the great playmaker.  But Evgeni Malkin has the best of both worlds.  He has both.  He is a more complete player, in my opinion, than either Ov or Cros.

Just getting back to the criticism of Malkin - people were criticzing Ovechkin for doing nothing in the playoffs after the first few games of the Rangers series.  Guess what.  Ovechkin wasn't playing poorly.  He was trying.  He got like 30 shots on goal in 3 games.  Goals just didn't get by Lundqvist.  It happens.  Same thing with Malkin.  He hasn't been playing badly.  He had I believe 8 points in the 6 games vs the Flyers.  He had an assist in games 1 and 2 of the Capitals series.  10 points in 8 games is not exactly horrible.  Yeah, he was not at the level we saw him at last night, but come on.  Let's not act like he was playing terribly.

If you wanna talk about someone playing poorly, I got one for you.  Jordan Staal.  The guy has not done anything this postseason.  He didn't do much last postseason either.  Last night he missed a golden opportunity in front because he was being lazy.  He couldn't seem to keep the puck on his stick all night.  He fanned on a couple shots.  This guy is 6'4, a long reach, a strong skater, good defensive forward, and really could be a great player, but he needs to step it up.  The Penguins rewarded him with a nice contract, although some say he didn't deserve it.  Staal is not going to be a 40 goal scorer, and probably won't tally more than 75 points in a season, but he should be good for 25 goals 60 points every season, but mainly be a strong 2-way forward.  He is arguably the 3rd or 4th best forward on the team, so there should be more expectations on him.  He seems to float under the radar while they criticize guys like Malkin or Crosby when they have a game or two without a goal.  Doesn't seem fair to me.

Since: Dec 21, 2008
Posted on: May 7, 2009 10:36 am

Malkin makes it happen

Another good column by Goldstein.

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