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A trend worth monitoring moving forward.
Pittsburgh’s 5 vs 5 numbers against teams currently in the playoff picture and or top Stanley Cup contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Six of the Penguins last seven games, they have played Boston (2), Philadelphia (2), Washington and Tampa Bay, going 3-3 against that group of teams, with four of the six games against the top three Stanley Cup contenders in the East, excluding the Penguins of course.
Possession-Scoring Chance For %
vs BOS 47 CF% | 48 SCF%
vs BOS 36 CF% | 45 SCF%
vs PHI 47 CF% | 41 SCF%
vs PHI 37 CF% | 33 SCF%
vs WSH 30 CF% | 28 SCF%
vs TBL 42 CF% | 42 SCF%
The Penguins have been outscored 9-13 in 5 vs 5 play over this stretch, which isn’t disastrous by any means, but Pittsburgh’s unique ability to always hang around might be masking the underlying numbers not being seen as a big concern yet.
Nonetheless, a similar trend against four quality to elite teams over a six game period is something that is starting to catch the eyes of some in the Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Evgeni Malkin is up to 56 points in 40 games. The biggest Malkin supporters could not have predicted Malkin turning back the clock to prime Evgeni Malkin in averaging 1.4 points per game through 40 games.
Malkin’s previous seven seasons he’s been at 1.05, 1.25, 1.16, 1.02, 1.01, 1.2, 1.06 points per game.
The Penguins hope was best case scenario Malkin had one more 2017-2018 type season in him when he produced 98 points in 78 points.
Evgeni Malkin Career High PPG Seasons
2011-2012 | 1.45 PPG
2019-2020 | 1.40 PPG
2008-2009 | 1.37 PPG
2007-2008 | 1.29 PPG
Thus far he’s given them more. Malkin has looked more like 2011-2012 type Malkin when he averaged a career high 1.45 points per game. Scouts contend this is the most dominant Malkin’s looked in eight to nine years in how he’s driving play off zone entries and is striking fear into defenders. He’s putting defenseman back on their heels like a young Evgeni Malkin could, which Penguin coaches and scouts weren’t sure Malkin still had in him physically.
Another sidebar to the Malkin resurgence. A different approach in how Mike Sullivan’s handled Malkin, sources say.
He’s made him feel important.
Sullivan is said to have taken a d Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"