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Is this Evgeni Malkin’s best work yet?

Jan 20, 2012, 10:57 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin AP

Evgeni Malkin is one of the league’s most irresistible forces right now – even back-to-back games can’t slow him down for good.

After scoring the last two goals in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ big win against the New York Rangers on Thursday, Geno erupted in the third period to help his team overcome a 4-2 deficit against the Montreal Canadiens. Malkin scored the game-tying goal on a laser beam of a shot and then collected the shootout winner as Pittsburgh topped the Habs 5-4 (SO).

Tonight’s goal ups Malkin’s league-leading points total to 55, which is especially impressive because he’s played in just 40 games. (Current runner-up Henrik Sedin has 52 points in 47 contests.) You can break up Geno’s recent work into scary-good chunks, but I’d say going back to Nov. 20 is a solid idea:

Malkin in the last 27 games: 20 goals, 21 assists for 41 points with a +10 rating and 132 shots on goal. Most recently, Malkin has eight goals and 10 points in his last six contests.

That’s some ridiculous stuff, prompting onlookers to boast about his swagger and forcing me to wonder: where does this rank with the gifted center’s all-time best work?

source: API asked folks on Twitter how “2011-12 Malkin compares to Art Ross Malkin” and those who responded ranked his best runs in an interesting way.

1. “Conn Smythe Malkin.”
2. “Current Malkin.”
3. “Art Ross Malkin.”

Malkin earned the Art Ross and Conn Smythe in the same world-beating 2008-09 season, but for the sake of fun, let’s look at those “three Malkins” through the simplest of stats.

“Current Malkin”: 40 Games Played: 25 goals, 30 assists for 55 points (1.375 per game)
“Art Ross Malkin”: 82 GP: 35 goals, 78 assists for 113 points (1.378 per game)
“Conn Smythe Malkin”: 24 GP: 14 goals, 22 assists for 36 points (1.5 points per game)

Seriously, Malkin scored 1.5 points per game in the playoffs that year.

Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that Malkin is approaching the level that some worried he’d never reach again after he struggled a bit with fatigue and injuries 2009-10 and 2010-11. Then again, context – minus Sidney Crosby, plus James Neal – could prompt some to believe that he’s at a new level of excellence.

However his work stacks up to his greatest hits, most hockey fans have been delighted to watch Malkin return to his superhuman form of old – unless he’s rumbling down the ice against their own team.

  1. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Must be rough getting to draft Malkin and then Crosby, lol… I mean what are the chances!

  2. danphipps01 - Jan 21, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    Man, as much as Ray Shero’s going to have a nightmarish situation next season if Crosby can’t find consistency health-wise, at least he can console himself with the knowledge that Geno turns on god mode every time Sid drops out of the lineup. Seriously, even if he decides not to resign Crosby, being left with Malkin playing at this level would certainly help alleviate concerns.

  3. ikillchicken - Jan 21, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I used to think Malkin was more than a little overrated although I fully admit that I’m beginning to rethink that given his current play. He’s arguably still a little over-payed at 8.7 Mil (He’s still no Crosby) but at this point it’s tough to deny that he’s one of the top few forwards in the league.

    • maxtalbot25 - Jan 22, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      I think Malkin’s rush up ice to set up James Neal’s game tying goal and his own subsequent game winning goal in OT against Washington is a snapshot of what he;s been doing most of this season. During this current winning streak, which started after rumors that Penguin Teammates were ques

      Malkin’s play this last six games has been scary good. Not since Bobby Orr, have I seen a player visibly come in on a shift with such emotion, that you know a goal is going to result….either from his stick or from his assist. This might sound silly, but not only did Malkin work extra hard on his conditioning before the season, he also worked on his “English” with the purpose of helping take some of the media load off of Crosby’s shoulders.Both have given him increased strength and confidence. So, even though he isn’t Crosby, he is the next closest thing.

  4. maxtalbot25 - Jan 22, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Malkin’s play this last six games has been scary good. Not since Bobby Orr, have I seen a player visibly come in on a shift with such emotion, that you know a goal is going to result….either from his stick or from his assist. This might sound silly, but not only did Malkin work extra hard on his conditioning before the season, he also worked on his “English” with the purpose of helping take some of the media load off of Crosby’s shoulders.Both have given him increased strength and confidence. So, even though he isn’t Crosby, he is the next closest thing.

  5. willsports - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Malkin is really showing his capability of playing without Crosby. I remember last year when Crosby got hurt Malkin was struggling but he has become a threat to score every shift. Great blog.
    Check out betweenthelineshockeyandbaseball.wordpress.com

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