Thursday, November 02, 2006

Malkin - NHL Rookie of the month for October.

Evgeni Malkin has been named NHL Rookie of the month for October. Malkin has 9 points (5 goals + 4 assists) which is less than his closest competitor - Anze Kopitar from Los Angeles Kings (3 goals + 10 assists) but Kopitar played 14 games while Malkin only 5 as he missed first five games due to the dislocated shoulder.

Also, Penguins won over Kings last night with Malkin scoring 2 goals, including a winner in overtime while Kopitar failed to produce a single point. Kopitar did have 2 shots, one in each of the first two periods and spent 20:20 on the ice plus had +1 for that game. Malkin spent slightly more time on the ice - 23:28 - with twice as many shots. Only defensemen Whitney and Gonchar spent more time on the ice than Malkin - more than 25 minutes each.
Malkin scores twice against Los Angeles Kings and becomes the first NHL player in 89 years with goals in his first six games in NHL.

Crosby and Malkin both had a great game again with Crosby recording 3 assists and Malkin 2 goals. They played really well together and Crosby assisted on both Malkin's goals. Also, Crosby was talking to Malkin on the bench and on the ice during this game and apparently Malkin's English has become better.

Los Angeles scored a quick goal on 25th second of the first period but Jordan Stall tied the game to 1:1 with his fifth goal 50 seconds later after Mark Recchi sent him the puck from the right corner. A 6'4'' 18 year old center, Stall has 5 goals and 1 assit after this game. I think he played really great in both defense and offense through the entire game and Penguins definetly made a right decision of not sending him back to junior league. Stall was selected as one of the three stars of this game.

In the middle of the 1st period Malkin scored his first goal after Crosby gave him an excellent pass from behind the net. Malkin moved into an open position in front of the net a second before the pass - those two players read the game really well.

Second period started again with a quick goal from Kings - Brown scored an unassisted goal on 13th second and tied the game to 2:2. Later Blake moved Los Angeles to a 3:2 lead when Penguins were short-handed on the 5th minute. Penguins tied to 3:3 after defenseman Noah Welch scored his first goal of the season.

At 2:45 of overtime Malkin scored a power-play goal after Sergei Gonchar's strong slap-shot caused a rebound. Again, Malkin was in a perfect position to get to the puck first and finish the game.

Sidney Crosby was playing great and recorded three assists, including two on both Malkin's goals. Sidney has 18 points in 10 games and ties as #2 player in the league. Gonchar, a native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, is ranked as #10 defenseman in the league with 9 points in 10 games. Armstrong also got an assist for the first goal but failed to score a single goal again.

Penguins are playing against Sharks this Saturday - stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Evgeni Malkin will play his 6th NHL game tonight in LA. Malkin's current performance with 5 goals and 4 assists puts him on a track of more than 140 points for his first season in NHL which is much more than Alex Ovechkin's 106 points last season. Ovechkin's points were enough to secure him Calder Trophy in a tough competition with Penguins' center Sidney Crosby, who's playing now as Malkin's linemate and can ironically help another Russian to receive one of the most prestigious NHL trophies. Or course, Ovechkin secured the trophy not only by the pure stats but also by his leadership and spectacular goals, such as now famous goal against Phoenix Coyotes in 2005-2006 season when Ovechkin scored while sliding across the ice on his back - check it here:

Two Malkin's goals convince me that he has the potential to produce the Ovechkin-like goals. First, Evgeni's goal on the World Junior Championship in the game against Kazakhstan - check it below and you'll see that you gotta be a special player to hit a flying puck while still falling down yourself.

Second, Malkin's goal against Devils that even Martin Brodeur called "Pretty Amazing":

Not to say that Penguines looks like an amazing team this season with good chances to go to play offs, plus having such a linemate as Crosby - that should help Evgeni to replicate Ovechkin's success.

Whether Malkin gets Calder Trophy is impossible to predict at this stage of the season, but tonight he has a good chance to make history - if Evgeni scores in his 6th consequitive game he'll be the first palyer to do so since Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde and Cy Denneny did that 89 years ago!