Malkin: 'Our chance to win again'
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin granted the Tribune-Review an exclusive interview after a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden:
Q: Sidney Crosby had an assist and was a plus-3 in his return. Does he ever surprise you with his strong comeback games?
A: (It's) not surprising (for) me. I see how hard he works every practice, every day. Before, against the Islanders (Nov. 21, 2011), it was four points, and I thought he had two assists, so that was the only surprise to me.
Q: How much has Crosby's work ethic influenced you over the years?
A: I'm (a) lucky guy because when I (came) to Pittsburgh, I was surprised how Sid, who was the best player, worked so hard. It is every day. I had never worked liked that. I watched what Sid (did), and now I (have) started to do it, too. I think my level is up, too, because of that work.
Q: This game was only the 11th in about 14 months that the Penguins had you, Crosby, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury in the lineup. Do you appreciate that more now after you went without it for so long?
A: Yeah, of course. We have this great organization. (General manager Ray Shero) has signed Sid, Staalsy, me and "Flower" -- and we (have) been together for a long time. But we have been hurt, and it (has) been hard. Guys have worked hard to get back, and we (can) show now that we have a great hockey team. There (are) 13 games before the playoffs, and I really hope everyone can stay healthy because this could be our chance to win again.
Q: Do teammates talk about winning the Atlantic Division?
A: Not a lot, but before this game we did. It was a four-point game, and everyone (understood) if we won, there is a chance. All we want is the chance. But if we don't win, we still think we can go get the Cup
Pens vs. Rangers 3/1 5⁄12
The Pittsburgh Penguins win 5-2 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden March 15, 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)