Halfway through the season Evgeni Malkin is powering the Pittsburgh Penguins. So far Malkin is third in the league in points with 47 (19 goals, 27 assists), leading the team, by far, in goals and also points. The more impressive number might be 41, as in games played, which matches the number the team has had. Despite not playing at all in training camp, Malkin's jumped right in, and he's been sensational.
NHL.com has noticed and has declared Malkin to be the front-runner of the MVP race. The best part, from the NHL.com piece:
This season, Malkin has played the most with Blake Comeau and Brandon Sutter, a little bit with Pascal Dupuis before he got hurt, some with the oft-injured Beau Bennett, occasionally with Nick Spaling, here and there with Bryan Rust and Andrew Ebbett, and with Crosby when the Penguins have wanted instant offense from their best players.
The result: Malkin started the season with an 11-game point streak (five goals, 11 assists) and finished Saturday with points in 31 of his first 41 games, including 13 multipoint games. He is playing well no matter who plays alongside him. He's making everyone around him better too.
The rest of it is worth reading too, so go ahead and do so.
Nice to see Malkin, perpetually in the shadow of Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin , break-out and get some well deserved recognition. Mainly due to injuries that have ravaged the team, Malkin hasn't been able to play with the best of linemates. But he's made chicken salad out of it and has helped the team stay on track.
Congrats Geno, now let's see if he can keep it up for the second half of the season.