As the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators game nears the end of the first period I still haven't hardly noticed Malkin on the ice. As I think about it, the only real thing I remember him doing in the whole series was getting knocked onto his backside during the his first shift of game 1 and the Senators promptly scoring a goal. I know he was credited with an assist on the Penguins powerplay goal in game 1 but it didn't seem like it really lead to the goal. I find myself thinking that maybe Malkin and all his talent won't be a playoff performer. Maybe Malkin should hit the gym and turn his 6-3 195 pound frame into a more grissly 215 pound build.
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The second period begins and I notice myself paying much more attention to Malkin. I see him getting bossed around near the boards, not making great plays on the puck and then BOOM, I see him upended in open ice. Malkin collects himself and continue's his shift. The announcers make a comment on how they are surprised he got up so quickly. I am surprised to, again I think he should hit the weights to beef himself up 20 pounds. After the hit he seems distracted and has little real impact on the game for the remainder of the period. I realize that the Pens were short handed 5 times in the period and that definitely factored into his lack of contribution.
After the third period begins I see Malkin playing on the same line as Crosby. I find myself wondering why Therrien would put an under acheiving Malkin on the Pens to line. Almost immediatley the Penguins score a power play goal and Malkin is credited with the 2nd assist. Again, it didn't seem like Malkin's assist really influenced the goal. However, after this goal is scored it is like a new Malkin emerged. He started winning some battles down by the boards, making some nice passes, and playing playoff hockey with an impact. Unsurprisingly, Malkin made a nice pass to Recchi on Crosby's game winning goal. So, before I could begin sounding my warning sirens and send a page out to let Malkin know the playoffs have begun, he arrived and emphatically proved why he will be hoisting the Calder Trophy.
Next up - Malkin's first playoff goal.
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