After back-to-back third place finishes in the Metropolitan Division, the Pittsburgh Penguins are off to a 4-3-1 start this season. That places them in a relatively mediocre 4th in the realigned Eastern Division. After a recent 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, Evgeni Malkin knows much of the team’s fate moving forward falls on his shoulders.
While Sidney Crosby is still the top player on the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team needs Evgeni Malkin to be like the player he was last season when he scored 74 points in 55 games. So far this season, Malkin only has one goal, two assists in eight games. No one knows that more than Evgeni Malkin, who noted that he is “not happy with his game right now…. It’s tough to say many good things about my game right now, but I hope it’s coming and I believe in myself”. Malkin has appeared out of sorts much of the time on the ice this season and has only taken 15 shots so far this season. To put that into perspective, 141 players in the NHL have more shots. Although early, a slow start is rare for Evgeni Malkin, who has at least a point per game in his first eight games in 12 of his 14 seasons. With less than a half-point per game so far, there is some reason for concern.
After all, evgeni Malkin is 34 years old and has much wear and tear on his body from 14 seasons in the league. One reason for the slow start could be the difficulty Malkin had to prepare for the season at home in Russia. A large number of gyms were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, Malkin indicates his body and legs feel fine. Evgeni Malkin realizes that as a group they must all stay positive, knowing the team is loaded with great players. The key is for every player to play the right way. When that happens and each player does his job, everything starts to work as a unit and wins will follow. Malkin knows he must pick up his game sooner instead of later for the Penguins to reverse their fortunes.