It’s 100 and counting for Evgeni Malkin.
Well, exactly 102.
With two goals and an assist Saturday night against the Devils, Malkin surpassed the 100-point mark and now has 102 (44+58) on the season.
“I am very happy. I never even thought about getting 100 points at the beginning of the season,” Malkin said through translator George Birman. “Scoring 100 points is great and I am very excited.”
Malkin became the 12th Penguins player to reach that single-season plateau, joining Pierre Larouche, Jean Pronovost, Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Rob Brown, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, Rick Tocchet, Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby.
“I am having lots of fun now,” Malkin said. “I am enjoying it because we have a great team and we are winning games, especially on our home ice we are winning big games. It is fun and great to play right now.”
Coincidentally, it was the second milestone he reached against the Devils. Malkin scored his first NHL goal against New Jersey last season.
“It’s pure luck, probably,” Malkin said. “Hopefully, I will continue to score lots of goals against New Jersey and keep bringing a lot of points.”
Malkin now trails Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, 106-102, in the NHL scoring race. Nevertheless, Malkin is just happy the Penguins are in first place in the Atlantic Division.
“It was a very important game for us. We tried to win the game to get first place. We played very hard,” he said. “We have a good team and we had good chances and used all our chances.”
The two teams meet again Tuesday night in New Jersey.
“It will be a completely different game,” Malkin said. “It will be a much tougher game because tonight they played their second game back to back. So, they were probably a little tired in the third period. We just exploded.”