There are a lot of what ifs in sports.
A lot of people questioned if Evgeni Malkin would be able to come back to where he left off in the regular season. Despite missing 20 games this season, he still managed to notch 72 points.
Thursday night when the Pens ended the Blue Jackets season by defeating them 5-2, Malkin had a 3-point night. After that impressive outing, we take a look back at what Geno has been able to do in the series.
To start things off, Malkin was never a minus player in the five games against Columbus. He may not have been scoring all the goals, but he was definitely putting the puck in the right place and the right time.
He only had two goals in the series but had nine assists. In only five games in this postseason, he has 11 points. If you look back to last post season he only had 18 points in 23 games.
Going back to the 2009 Cup run, Malkin ended up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy scoring 36 points. He is definitely on pace to beat that number if they so happen to wind up in the Cup finals yet again.
We all remember the impressive no-look back handed goal against Carolina in 2009, maybe we’ll see something as spectacular as we did then.
I’ll never forget watching that play on tv. I was still young at the time but you could just feel that Pittsburgh were on their way to win the Cup. After the post game of the Penguins game Thursday night, NHL Tonight mentioned how Geno was surprisingly quiet in the goal department, yet he is surely making magic happen out there.
Lets keep in mind that Sidney Crosby and Malkin were neck and neck in the scoring race right around New Years eve. Injuries occurred, and oh yeah, a kid named Connor McDavid ended up winning the Art Ross Trophy.
There’s no question in my mind that Geno could’ve kept up and even surpassed McDavid in the scoring race.
When Phil Kessel came to Pittsburgh, everyone wondered who he would play with. As last season rolled along, the HBK line developed and the story wrote itself there.
Injuries this season lead Head Coach Mike Sullivan to mix and match the lineup. Geno and Phil have quietly been an unstoppable force, and lets not forget about Bryan Rust. All three have combined for 21 points this postseason already, and we literally just finished round one.
For years the front office tried finding the perfect wingers for Sid and Geno. James Neal went okay but a change had to be made.
Crosby finally got his wingers in Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel, but where did that leave Geno?
Rust and Kessel are perfect fits for Malkin, in which they are giving him the opportunity to display skills that have been underrated for years.
I’d be afraid if I were the Capitals or Maple Leafs. Not only do you have to deal with Sid and the kids line, but now there a whole new monster to deal with and Geno leads the charge.