Evgeni Malkin, MVP. Pens destroy Bolts 8-1

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 25: Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates Kunitz's goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period on February 25, 2012 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The game following a shutout can be a disaster. Add the fact that the game is played in the afternoon after three days of no hockey and it could really get ugly.

Not this game.

Evgeni Malkin took control of the day when the Pittsburgh Penguins faced the Tampa Bay Lightning and now sits alone at the top of the scoring race (playing seven less games than 2nd place Steven Stamkos). Scoring one of the best goals of the season on top of the stellar game he played, there are no words that can describe the show Malkin is putting on. As a person of many words, it takes a lot to be speechless and Malkin has had that effect on me for weeks now.

Game started a bit slow and then it was Penguins all day. Dwayne Roloson looked nothing like he did in last year's playoffs.

More thoughts:

  • Jordan Staal scored his team-leading third shorthanded goal of the season. That's good for second in the NHL.
  • You can give an assist to linesman Jay Sharrers on Staal's shorthanded goal. He "interfered" with Viktor Hedman which granted Staal the open ice to put the Pens up by three.
  • Dallas, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay were the scouts in the house. Take that as you will.
  • Evgeni Malkin. MVP leader by a mile.
  • Pens now have three players who have reached the 20-goal plateau: Neal (30), Malkin (36), and Staal (21).
  • Pascal Dupuis had a fantastic game, especially on the penalty kill. He was well-rewarded with a goal in the final minute.
  • Paul Martin was +3. Solid game from him.
  • Brooks Orpik had five blocked shots. Those probably all came from penalty kills.
Columbus Blue Jackets come to town in five minutes. Get ready for the "Sidney Crosby and Jack Johnson are best friends" talk.

Go Pens.
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