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Penguins' Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin ranked in top 3, but not top spot, on NHL Network list

Jonathan Bombulie
| Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, 2:57 p.m.
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby plays against the Bruins Friday, Dec. 18, 2105 at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby plays against the Bruins Friday, Dec. 18, 2105 at Consol Energy Center.

For the second straight year, the Penguins dynamic duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin ranked in the top three, but not the top spot, of the NHL Network’s annual countdown of the best centers in the game.

Crosby was ranked second and Malkin third in the list compiled by network analysts. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid held down the top spot. Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon rounded out the top five.

McDavid has surpassed Crosby when it comes to scoring from the center position, winning the Art Ross Trophy each of the past two seasons. The ranking becomes more complicated when looking at all-around game, which is an area where Crosby excels.

“Sidney Crosby does everything,” NHL Network analyst E.J. Hradek said. “That’s why it’s hard to put him behind anybody, because you want him in all facets of the game.”

Malkin is coming off a strong, 98-point season in which he led the league in scoring in January and February.

“He is as talented as any player there is in the league and he plays with Sidney Crosby so some people might want to criticize (him), but we start looking at points per 60 (minutes), yeah, he’s first,” NHL Neywork analyst Mike Johnson said. “He’s No. 1 in the league. He’s just so, so good. … The most talented player I’ve ever been on the ice with.”

Keep up with the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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