Penguins' Malkin: 'I believe we will make the playoffs'

Friday, 01.22.2016 / 2:59 PM

Center Evgeni Malkin is confident the Pittsburgh Penguins will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 10th straight season.

"Now we are starting to believe that we can win every game," Malkin told the Penguins website Friday. "We have a great team. We started playing better. I believe that we will make the playoffs."

The Penguins have 51 points, two behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, but they have two games in hand on the Devils. Pittsburgh is three points behind the New York Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins are 5-2-3 in their past 10 games, including a 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. But they haven't won consecutive games since Dec. 31 at the Detroit Red Wings and Jan. 2 against the New York Islanders.

"We aren't in the playoffs and we understand that each point is important," Malkin said. "Our rivalry against the Flyers is amazing every time. It doesn't matter if we play here or in Philadelphia. The Flyers showed us in the first 20 minutes; they dominated. But it's good how we came back. We focused on the last 40 minutes."

After losing their first four games under coach Mike Sullivan, who replaced Mike Johnston on Dec. 12, the Penguins are 7-3-4 in their past 14. Malkin said he feels the players now are beginning to play with confidence under Sullivan.

"He came to the team and brought more energy and emotion," Malkin said. "Sullivan is an emotional guy in the locker room too. It's good for us. We were down 2-0 [after the first period Thursday against the Flyers] and he came to the locker room and pressured us, showed emotion and we brought emotion to the game. It’s good for the team."

Malkin leads the Penguins with 20 goals and 44 points in 46 games.

"I think [Malkin] has been one of our more consistent players," Sullivan said. "He's been a threat most nights. He generates a ton of offensive chances for his line and the people he's on the ice with. He's a big part of this team."

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