PITTSBURGH -- If Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is looking for a good omen to open his season, maybe this is it.
Malkin, admittedly not the most confident player in shootouts, beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a forehanded attempt on a penalty shot during the first period of a training camp-opening scrimmage Saturday at Consol Energy Center. Malkin has tried a variety of moves and strategies during his career in an attempt to find a reliable way to score on breakaways, and he was continuing to search when his 2010-11 season ended prematurely with a right knee injury on Feb. 4. He later had surgery to repair two torn ligaments.
In his career, Malkin is 7 of 29 (24.1 percent) in shootouts.
This is a pivotal season for Malkin, who is coming off not only a shortened season but a less-than-satisfying one in which he has 15 goals and 22 assists in 43 games only two years after leading the NHL with 113 points during the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning season in 2008-09. With Sidney Crosby's status for the start of the season uncertain as he recovers from a concussion, the Penguins are relying on Malkin to carry their offense until Crosby returns.
"I think he's a motivated guy right now," coach Dan Bylsma said.