Evgeni Malkin and Russia kept their Olympic gold hopes alive Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Canada.
Alexander Ovechkin’s power-play goal near the start of the third period was the difference for Russia. Alexei Kovalev had a power-play goal late in game, too.
Malkin did not score, but played another strong game and contributed for Russia at even-strength, short-handed and power-play situations.
Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins 2004 second-overall pick, has six points (2+4) in six games for Russia. The Russians can earn a berth in the gold-medal game with a victory over Finland on Friday.
Malkin, who at 19 is the youngest player in the tournament, is tied for eight tournament scoring with Slovakia's Marian Gaborik. Malkin, who ranks second on Russia in points to Pavel Datsyuk (8), has more points than such NHL stars as Jaromir Jagr, Daniel Alfredsson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Straka and Kovalev.
NBC commentators John Davidson and Mike “Doc” Emrick had nothing but good things to say about Malkin once again during Tuesday’s telecast against the United States.
“This guy is unbelievable,” Emrick said. “Malkin has been impressive defensively, too.”
Davidson agreed, “Not only is he good offensively, but Malkin is pretty good defensively. He’s good in his own zone.”
Davidson couldn’t resist comparing Malkin to Russian teammate Ovechkin, who was the 2004 first-overall pick.
“Some people are already saying that Malkin is better than Ovechkin,” he said. “Fans in Pittsburgh are just drooling to get Malkin.”
NBC studio analyst Ray Ferraro, a former NHL player had this to say about Malkin: “Evgeni Malkin has been sensational.”
Peter McNab, a former NHL player and current TV color analyst for the Colorado Avalanche, was impressed with Malkin when he called Saturday’s Russia-Kazakhstan battle on CNBC.
“We’ve seen him do everything. We’ve seen toughness; we’ve seen him kill penalties; we’ve seen him play the power play; we’ve seen him backcheck; we’ve seen him hit. We haven’t seen him sharpen skates yet, but that’s about the only thing we haven’t seen.
“Pittsburgh Penguins fans have to be salivating at the prospect of Malkin and Sidney Crosby playing on the same team,” he added. “Malkin will be 20 next year. Sidney will be 19. Those are two franchise players, and they’re going to be playing together in Pittsburgh.”