Monday, February 18, 2008

Malkin Playing Best Hockey Of His Career

When Sidney Crosby went down with a high ankle sprain, it looked like Pittsburgh was in for some hard times, but the Penguins have carried on fine without him. They are tied with the New Jersey Devils atop the Atlantic Division. They have done this in part due to some surprisingly great goaltending from Ty Conklin and from Evgeni Malkin blossoming into a superstar.

It was clear that Malkin had the ability to be a top NHL player from early in his Calder Trophy season, but he has made a further jump recently. With Crosby out of the lineup, Malkin has been arguably the best player the NHL for the last few weeks. So far in 2008, he leads the NHL with 36 points (Alexander Ovechkin and Shane Doan are tied for second with 30). This has allowed Malkin to close within one point of Ovechkin's scoring lead (Malkin has 77 points, Ovechkin has 78).

As long as Malkin and Conklin keep playing at this level, when Crosby returns, the Pittsburgh Penguins should be one of the top teams in the NHL.

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