Evgeni Malkin (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin had all eyes on him Tuesday following comments he made after a loss Saturday. How did Malkin respond? With a four-point night and a beautiful game-winning goal that’s going to live on highlight reels all season.
If there has ever been a regular season contest where all eyes were on Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Tuesday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Wild may have been it.
Saturday, after the Penguins dropped their second in a row and third in four games, Malkin told media that the team doesn’t play right and doesn’t play hard before adding, “We’re mad at each other.” Malkin has since clarified his comments saying he misspoke and instead meant the team wasn’t happy with how they were playing.
How did Malkin respond in his first game since his comments Saturday? He drew the primary assist on the Penguins’ first goal of the night, then picked up the primary helper on Beau Bennett’s power play tally before Malkin scored one of his own eight minutes into the second frame. But he capped his night with a remarkable game-winning goal:
The way Malkin drags that puck between his legs is incredible. It’s not just a simple drag between his feet, but rather a short toe drag before the puck is slipped through his legs into a shooting position. And the fluidity with which Malkin completes the move, aims and fires the shot home is remarkable.
The Penguins would hold on for a 4-1 victory with Malkin drawing a point on every single goal Pittsburgh goal. His four-point night was his first since March 22, 2014 and the 20th time he’s scored four points in one game in his career. Malkin now leads the Penguins with six goals and 16 points in 18 games.