Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin stays hot in back-to-back losses to Islanders
NEW YORK – Coming off a 4-0 Canadian road trip, the Pittsburgh Penguins hit a roadblock this week, dropping both ends of a home-and-home series with the New York Islanders.
Evgeni Malkin, however, did not slow down.
He scored a game-tying power-play goal in the third period Thursday night as the Penguins suffered a 3-2 shootout loss at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In general, after a 6-3 loss to the Islanders two days prior, Malkin is looking forward to seeing a new opponent when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town Saturday night.
“We played against a good team,” Malkin said. “They play so hard in the D zone. They play one on one. They play physical. We played a little bit better, but not enough.”
No matter the opponent, Malkin has been hitting the scoresheet with regularity this season.
Malkin is second in the league in scoring with 20 points in 11 games. Over his last six games, he has six goals and 11 points.
“It’s not me. It’s the whole line. It’s the whole team,” Malkin said. “I had a great summer. I worked with (strength and conditioning coach Alex Trinca). We worked hard all summer. A little bit of rest for me. We had an extra month this year. I play with (Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin). They’re great guys, great players. I did my job. I try to give my best. I feel good, fresh, my legs moving.”
As gaudy as his point totals have been, coach Mike Sullivan has noticed strength in other areas of Malkin’s game so far this season.
“The coaches have been really impressed with his willingness to compete away from the puck and play in our end zone,” Sullivan said. “We’ve been on him sometimes. He’s a guy that likes to play in constant motion. Sometimes he’s got to cut his skating down a little bit and help us defensively and recognizing those situations. He’s really making a concerted effort to try to play the game and right way and offensively he’s been a dominant player for us.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.