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Evgeni Malkin rues missed chances in Game 6 loss to Senators

Penguins forward feels he should have scored more than one goal on game-high seven shots

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / NHL.com Staff Writer

OTTAWA -- Evgeni Malkin was the lone Pittsburgh Penguin who was able to score on Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday.

But that wasn't enough for Malkin to feel good about the way he played after the Penguins' 2-1 loss at Canadian Tire Centre. He couldn't help but think about the opportunities he failed to finish when the Penguins had a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season.

Instead, the Penguins and Senators will play a Game 7 in Pittsburgh on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Senators series coveragePenguins believe same effort as Game 6 gets them win in Game 7]

 

"I did my best but I feel I can do more," Malkin said.

Malkin, 30, has done plenty already in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 2009 Conn Smythe winner leads the League with 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 18 playoff games.

His goal Tuesday, which gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead 4:51 into the second period, was a display of his sometimes unstoppable combination of strength and skill. After bouncing off a check from Senators forward Zack Smith behind the goal line to the right of the net, Malkin muscled his way in front for a shot that Anderson stopped with his right pad.

The rebound bounced back to Malkin, who calmly pulled the puck to his backhand before sliding it through an opening between Anderson's left pad and the post. Malkin finished with a game-high seven shots on goal and also dominated on faceoffs, going 13-for-18 (72 percent).

"I thought he was a force," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He had a lot of opportunities. I think he has high expectations of himself, and he had a lot of really good looks. He scores one goal. Could he have had more? Sure. But I like the way he was playing. I thought he played a determined game."

Video: PIT@OTT, Gm6: Malkin backhands home own rebound

The missed opportunity that stood out the most to Malkin came during a Penguins power play in the first period. After goaltender Matt Murray stopped Viktor Stalberg's shorthanded shot from the left circle, the Penguins broke in on a 4-on-2 rush.

Sidney Crosby fed Malkin, who skated down the slot for an open shot but fired directly into Anderson's glove at 12:06.

"Sid gave me a great pass. It was like a breakaway for me and I shot into the glove," Malkin said. "I need to use my chances a little bit more, [have] a little bit of patience. I think I could have scored two or three goals tonight. It's a little bit frustrating because I had so many chances."

Malkin leads the Penguins with six points (two goals, four assists) against the Senators and believes he's had good chemistry the past two games playing on a line with Scott Wilson and Phil Kessel. 

Wilson scored a goal, Malkin had three assists and Kessel had a goal and an assist in the Penguins' 7-0 win in Game 5 on Sunday. The trio combined for 14 shots on goal in Game 6 but had only one goal. Malkin and Wilson also were on the ice for Mike Hoffman's winning goal, which came on a 3-on-2 rush 1:34 into the third period.

"After [the] last game, I think we played not good enough," Malkin said. "We scored one goal, but we had so many chances and we need to dominate. We need to help the team to win. It's a tough game. There's so many battles in the corner and in the front of the net, but we need to find a way to score a couple more goals, for sure."

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