Penguins' Malkin bemoans 'bad luck' during goal drought
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin doesn't struggle setting goals for when he takes the ice.
Scoring goals, however, has been problematic, at least over Malkin's past eight playoff games.
“I come to (a) game and always I try to score,” Malkin said Friday after practice at Southpointe. “It's just bad luck maybe, I don't know. But every game I try my hardest and try to score.
“I know people start talking about my goals, but I try to score every game. It's my game.”
Malkin's and fellow franchise center Sidney Crosby's games have come under additional scrutiny because their collective goal total trails defenseman Brooks Orpik's by one.
The eight-game drought is a career-worst for Malkin, the playoff MVP five years ago when he compiled 36 points and 14 goals in 24 games.
Neither Malkin nor Crosby has a goal this series, and each has produced four assists. Only two of Malkin's assists have been primary assists, none since Game 1. His four points match his total in three regular-season games against Columbus.
The Penguins have 14 goals this series, which is 2-2 and resumes Saturday at Consol Energy Center. Yet only three of those markers have come from Malkin's linemates, James Neal and Jussi Jokinen.
“I feel good,” Malkin said. “My line, we (played well). We move (the) puck. The second period (in Game 4) we had lots of penalties.
“Sometimes we need to play simple.”
Malkin went without a shot during a 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday at Columbus. But that stat can be misleading, Malkin said.
“Two shots but (a) couple (of) shots blocked,” Malkin said. “It's hard because Columbus is (a) tough team. Every team … it's playoffs. We talk about us, but it's Columbus. Tough battle. You play one-on-one. Sometimes you shoot, but (the) defensemen (block the shots). I'm trying. I know (the) puck (is) coming, and (it's) time to score goals.”
Malkin said the Penguins, who led 3-0 after the first period in Game 4, “played 20 minutes. I don't know why. Maybe (we thought it was going to be an) easy game, 3-0, and win this game. It's playoffs. We need to play 60 minutes.”
Malkin's shotless performance came two days after he seemed to find an extra gear in the third period of Game 3.
Malkamania and Bully Mode — fanspeak for Malkin asserting himself — seemingly had returned. Malkin pushed the puck. He made plays.
In that game, coach Dan Bylsma loved what he saw from Malkin on the bench: intensity, cheering, leadership.
Bylsma said Malkin has matured as a leader, so much so that it can temper a scoring drought such as the one he's experiencing now.
“He's a big emotional leader for our team,” Bylsma said. “I wish you could see him on the bench in Game 3. Not just what he did on the ice, but (he played) a big role in what he did with leadership on the bench.
“I expect that from him. These are tight situations. Game 5 is a pivotal game. I do expect to see that out of him.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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.
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- Penguins alumni rally to help Mitch Wilson, who is fighting ALS
- Penguins GM insists new coach Johnston was no afterthought