There’s an easy explanation for why Evgeni Malkin is congratulating Sergei Gonchar on his 800th career point. For one, they were teammates in Pittsburgh for four seasons and have played together on two occasions for the Kontinental League’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Malkin also stayed with Gonchar and his wife for three seasons at the start of the Russian sniper’s NHL career.
As for why the Penguins’ Malkin congratulated Gonchar while seated on top of a stuffed tiger, that one might take some explaining. Read more
Evgeni Malkin is either having a really bad week, or a really good one.
The big Pittsburgh Penguins center has had an extra hint of snarl to his game lately. On Saturday night, he looked like a black-and-gold missile when he smashed New York Rangers defenceman Dan Girardi behind the net.
Girardi never saw Malkin coming, and had to be helped off the ice after the hit.
It happened behind the Rangers’ net, with the score tied 2-2. Marc Staal slipped the puck along the boards to Girardi, and Girardi was about to slide it into the corner when Malkin came streaking in.
Malkin caught Girardi looking the wrong way and slammed into him with his hip and back. Girardi went down on his back and did not get up.
The hit touched off a scrum, and Malkin got a minor penalty on the play.
As has been the case for the better part of the past decade, the proof will be in the playoffs for these Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re the No. 1 team in the NHL at this moment in terms of winning percentage, but we’ve seen this act before. Nobody will believe this team is for real until the players and their goalie prove they can excel in the post-season.
But there is a different feel around this team. With guys like Nick Spaling, Patric Hornqvist and Steve Downie in the lineup, they’re certainly a little more difficult to play against. Heck, even Evgeni Malkin got into a fight in the Penguins 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night after he responded to a perfectly clean hit by Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf. There is a sense that not only do these Penguins have more of an edge, they also have more of a team concept in their own end of the ice. Read more
Penguins sophomore defenseman Olli Maatta’s recent surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid gland revealed the tumor was cancerous, but Pittsburgh head coach Mike Johnston believes the 20-year-old will be playing again before his four-week recovery window expires.
By Dominik Luszczyszyn
When it comes to special teams, The Pittsburgh Penguins’ ability is unfair. They’ve scored 15 more goals with the extra man than their opponents in just 13 games and their power play is first in the league at a jaw-dropping 37.5 percent. Their penalty kill isn’t too bad either at 88.5 percent, good for third in the league.
The team has registered a power play goal in 10 of 13 games (two or more in eight of those) and hasn’t surrendered a goal on the penalty kill in 10 straight. Simply put, they’ve been downright unstoppable. Read more
Yes, it’s early, but has anyone noticed that Sidney Crosby is on pace to post the highest single-season scoring total in almost two decades? With five assists against Buffalo Saturday, Crosby has seven goals and 24 points in just 13 games, which puts him on a pace for 151 points, which would be the highest total since Crosby’s boss scored 161 points in 1995-96.
Not surprisingly, the Penguins have been dominant of late along with their captain. So for the second straight week, they top thn.com’s Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)
What makes New York Rangers’ winger Chris Kreider a unique player is his combination of size and speed. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 lbs., that same speed also makes him a danger when he comes crashing towards the net.
And, after Sunday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, some are starting to wonder about Kreider’s intentions when he gets close to the crease.
In the contest – a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Oilers – Kreider received a goaltender interference penalty for contact, no matter how incidental, with Edmonton netminder Viktor Fasth: Read more
No matter where he plays other than his home arena, Penguins winger Steve Downie is far from the most beloved NHLer on the ice at any given time. But even Downie didn’t deserve the dangerous hit Jets blueliner Dustin Byfuglien put on him Thursday in Winnipeg.
Downie had just come out of the penalty box to score on a breakaway at make it 3-1 for Pittsburgh when Byfuglien all but threw him into the end boards long after the puck had crossed the goal line: Read more