Malkin starting to round into form for Penguins
Evgeni Malkin was the topic of an answer in an episode of “Jeopardy” that aired on Tuesday night.
Another question may have been answered a couple of hours later.
Is Malkin — the version who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2009 and the Hart Trophy in 2012 — back?
His performance in a 4-1 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Ottawa Senators was a resounding yes. Malkin produced a goal and an assist and was a force throughout. More importantly, the sloppiness and turnovers that plagued his game against the New York Islanders essentially were eliminated.
Coach Dan Bylsma said he “absolutely” liked hearing Malkin acknowledge he can play at a higher level — something Malkin said after Game 6 of Round 1.
Bylsma especially liked that Malkin backed up his words against the Senators.
“He knows that he turned over a puck that led to a goal that cost our team on Long Island,” Bylsma said, referring to Malkin's turnover that led to John Tavares' goal in a Game 4 loss.
“When he talks about being better, it's because he knows. That's very good, and he was very good (Tuesday against the Senators) — in the defensive zone, around the net and with the puck.”
Malkin said he wasn't satisfied with his performance against Ottawa but acknowledged he is headed in the proper direction.
“I had 11 points (against the Islanders), but I had a couple of bad turnovers,” Malkin said. “I need to work on my D-zone more. I don't see points. I see my game on both sides. I can't score every game. But when I play better in the D-zone, that's important to me.”
Malkin was dynamic in all three zones against Ottawa.
He set up Paul Martin's early goal on the power play, and before the first period was over, Malkin scored one of his own.
His forechecking was strong all game as the center forced several turnovers without committing one of his own.
“I'm trying to play my best game,” Malkin said. “It was a little better. No turnovers. Just trying to play simple.”
If Malkin's teammates are displeased with his occasionally erratic play, they aren't showing it.
Right wing Jarome Iginla reacted curiously when it was suggested Malkin hasn't been at his best this postseason.
“In this postseason?” Iginla asked.
The former Calgary star said he sees nothing but brilliance in Malkin's game.
“Oh, I think he's been great for us this postseason,” Iginla said. “Unfortunately at times, you'll see a mistake here or there. But he's been great. He came out tonight off the bat and was a game-changer in Game 5 and Game 6. I didn't hear that (talk of Malkin's poor play). I think he's been great, and he continued that tonight.”
Malkin seemed at his best with regular linemates James Neal and Chris Kunitz, who set up his first-period goal. Kunitz said he senses Malkin is on the verge of playing his finest hockey.
“He creates so much momentum for our team,” Kunitz said. “We all have to learn from our turnovers. Everybody makes mistakes. Geno's a guy who makes up for them five-fold. He's just such a threat. It's a lot of fun to watch when he gets it going. Hopefully the trend will continue.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Timing drives former KHL star Plotnikov
- Penguins notebook: Crosby most excited by Kessel’s footspeed
- Sestito ready to fight for job on Penguins
- Penguins’ Johnston: Kessel, Crosby likely to open season together
- Despite recent NHL trend, new Penguins owner could involve group dynamic
- Crosby’s off-ice life hardly reflects that of a superstar
- Ex-Penguin Kennedy skates with former teammates, hopes to catch on with a team
- Penguins defenseman Oleksy brings nasty streak, toughness