Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin
is apparently in a “slump” even though he has 11 points on four goals and seven assists through eight postseason games, including four assists in his last three games.
But with the high expectations surrounding the reigning Art Ross champion, four points in the last three games just isn’t enough. While Malkin is contributing, what is missing is goal scoring. Malkin scored four goals in his first three playoff contests but hasn’t tallied a goal in his last five.
Head coach Dan Bylsma was asked by a reporter what he expects from Malkin in Game considering he hasn’t been on the scoresheet the last five games. Bylsma corrected the claim.
“You mean not scoring a goal? He has points,” Bylsma said. “He hasn’t scored a goal and when you lose you look for reasons why you haven’t won. We’ve not won or lost because of one player and how they are playing…Geno is a guy who has a lot of history of success in the playoffs. He scored a lot of points last year which was a huge factor in the series win last year and he was a huge factor in the first round.”
Geno is a guy who has a lot of history of success in the playoffs. He scored a lot of points last year which was a huge factor in the series win last year and he was a huge factor in the first round. - Dan Bylsma
Malkin had a number of great scoring chances in the first two games of the Pittsburgh-Washington series but came up short. Even the opponents have noticed.
“Malkin is playing pretty good,” Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “If he had put in the three great chances that he had, everybody would be talking about how good he was last game, but he missed. We have to do a better job of covering him. I don’t think we covered him well enough.”
But more importantly, Malkin’s teammates have faith that he will come through for the team when they need it.
"It's a tough time for a player when that happens, but you have to respond," Bill Guerin said. "He is the type of kid who's going to respond for us in the next game. And we need that from him."
“I think Geno has contributed a lot,” Sidney Crosby
said. “The fact is, when you don’t get on the scoresheet as much or things don’t go the right way, it’s easy to point the finger. There is a fine line in the playoffs and we need everybody. We can’t expect Geno to score every game or myself to score every game. It’s a collective effort and it’s up to us to do our part for sure. There are going to be times where it is difficult but it’s all about what you can do the next time. Geno just has to keep going and he has to have confidence in his abilities. We have confidence in him and it’s just a matter of the puck going in right now.”