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Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby win third championship with Penguins

Pittsburgh centers help defeat Predators in Final, combine for 55 points in Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was more concerned with celebrating his third championship than sorting out historical context after the Penguins' Cup-clinching 2-0 victory against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

Malkin led the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 25 games, one more point than Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (eight goals, 19 assists). They are a 1-2 punch revered around the NHL.

 

[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage | Crosby wins Conn Smythe Trophy]

 

"It's a hard question," Malkin said when asked about where he and Crosby would rank among the game's top pairs. "Great organization, great club, great players here. I'm not thinking about this, where, because I think we'll still play together a long time and maybe win.

"Maybe when we're retired, we'll think about it. But now, we're still young and we're still hungry and of course we want more."

Crosby was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP for the second straight year. With his production, Malkin would have been in the conversation.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Crosby receives Conn Smythe Trophy

"I think Geno comes to mind right away," Crosby said. "If you could, somehow put our two goaltenders on there. There were games they stole for us throughout the playoffs. Tonight you look at for example the way [Matt Murray] played. [Marc-Andre Fleury] throughout that whole Washington series. He just kept us in there. So those two guys come to mind.

"[Jake Guentzel], to score the way he did is pretty incredible. There's so many guys that could have easily won that. We just had a group of guys who understood about big moments and found a way to win."

This year, Malkin became the 29th player in NHL history to have 150 playoff points, reaching that milestone with three assists against the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. In his NHL postseason career, Malkin has 157 points (58 goals, 99 assists) in 149 games.

Malkin, 30, said the latest Cup victory proves how difficult it is to be the last team standing.

"It's so hard," Malkin said. "New guys, new teams coming, like Edmonton, Toronto. It's an amazing League. It's like every club can get a chance to win.

"We understand how hard (it is) every year. If you make the Final, it's maybe your last chance to win and we play 100 percent every game."

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Penguins celebrate Stanley Cup win

He said the playoff grind this year had some major challenges. The Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games, the Washington Capitals in seven games and the Senators in seven games before the six-game Cup Final against the Predators.

"We played long series," Malkin said. "We played Ottawa in two OTs and then we scored an amazing goal. We played against Washington in Game 7 too. We're tired, believe me, for sure, but now this is an unbelievable feeling. Lots of emotion.

"Tomorrow we will wake up and it's a new day, an amazing day. And our family is here and it's going to be a great summer, for sure."

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