Skip to content

Tale of the tape: Evgeni Malkin vs. Alex Ovechkin

Jan 21, 2012, 3:25 PM EDT

There’s no way you can argue against Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin as two of the NHL’s biggest stars. But when the Russian countrymen face off against each other on Sunday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET on NBC) it’ll be a tale of two guys who have seen their seasons go in different directions.

source: Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin: 46 GP – 19 goals, 17 assists – 2nd on Caps in points (Nicklas Backstrom)

Ovechkin and the Caps have had a disappointing season even though they sit atop the Southeast Division (tied with the Panthers in points, just three ahead of the Jets.) We’re used to seeing the Capitals turn things on and take over in the second half, but Ovechkin’s offensive struggles might make that difficult this time ’round.

Rather than helping his teammates raise their game, Ovechkin has slumped — especially with Backstrom out with a concussion. Normally he’s been on a line with Backstrom and Troy Brouwer but unlike Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, Ovechkin hasn’t been able to elevate his linemate’s games.

Ovechkin is on a pace to score less than 40 goals this season while the Caps struggle through trying to stay on top of their division. To say it’s been frustrating for the former two-time MVP this season would be an understatement.

source: Getty Images

Evgeni Malkin: 40 GP – 25 goals, 30 assists – 1st in NHL in points, t-3rd in goals

Simply put, Malkin has been a monster in Pittsburgh. The Penguins are missing both Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal, yet haven’t missed a beat thanks to Malkin. He’s scoring tons of goals, setting up teammates for others, and looking like the guy who helped Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup in 2009.

Where Malkin has done things different than Ovechkin is in how he’s developed chemistry with linemate James Neal. Neal and Malkin have become a dominant one-two punch as Neal has scored 24 goals and the pair has combined for 98 points, making them one of the top scoring duos in the league and a huge reason why the Penguins have won five in a row.

  1. xxshookonexx - Jan 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    well, just watched ferrence get his chance at a hearing by charging(boarding) mcdonagh but he should be admonished

  2. pens919209 - Jan 21, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Somewhere in a wood-paneled basement in Pittsburgh, John Steigerwald is furiously scouring the Internet with his dial-up connection in an attempt to find out which steroids Evgeni Malkin is using.

    • soupy19 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      Sidney Crosby is a Vampire

  3. naugle51 - Jan 21, 2012 at 4:31 PM


  4. stakex - Jan 21, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    No argument that Malkin is on fire right now, and is clearly the hottest player in the NHL.

    With that said, it has a lot to do with the way he is clicking with his line… especialy Neal. They are clearly feeding off eachother and helping to elevate eachothers play. Ovechkin on the other hand has not found that chemistry with anyone on the Caps team, and the Caps as a whole look simply lost when it comes to offense.

    This round is obviously going to Malkin, but I still would not be willing to say Malkin is a better player overall then Ovechkin given Malkins up and down play over his career. Hes up now, but who knows how long it will last…

    • pens919209 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      Cogent points – Malkin has been streaky over his career and has had great chemistry with Neal and Kunitz. Ovechkin is a supremely talented player in his own right, but he lags behind number 71 in two key areas –

      1. The Conn Smythe Trophy
      2. The Stanley Cup

      A great player makes those around him better – something Malkin is doing this season. A good player adds to his team’s chances of winning, but doesn’t elevate anyone else’s game. Right now, that’s where the difference between these two lies.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1676)
  2. P. Kane (1305)
  3. S. Matthias (1162)
  4. D. Carcillo (1060)
  5. C. Ehrhoff (1036)