Looking back on it now, that concern was silly.
With this three-point performance in Pittsburgh's wild come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, Malkin is now tied for second in the NHL in points (30) and just three behind his teammate, Sidney Crosby, for the league lead. That 15-game goal drought seems like it was an eternity ago, doesn't it?
Even more than the goals and assists is the fact that whatever line Malkin has been on this season, and especially over the past month, has been Pittsburgh's best in terms of creating offense and goals. He's been on the ice for 26 of Pittsburgh's past 36 goals and factored into the scoring on 20 of them (three goals, 17 assists).
Elsewhere, the Detroit Red Wings absolutely blasted the Boston Bruins, 6-1, in what was perhaps their most complete game of the season. And that was without their best player, Pavel Datsyuk. The Red Wings have had stretches this season, and especially recently, where they've played well but just haven't been able to get the result in the win column. That changed on Wednesday as they not only played a great game, but some of the bounces started to go their way.
Coach Mike Babcock even addressed that after the game.
"We work pretty hard most nights, today we were rewarded," Babcock said via Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily. "We had puck luck and got some energy and got going. I think that was the biggest thing. We’ve played lots of good games this year, we haven’t won lots of games. That’s the fact, because we never score in the ocean. The puck’s been going in. I thought we built off what we’ve been building and it was a positive for the guys."
All the NHL Scores
Red Wings 6, Bruins 1
Lightning 4, Flyers 2
Penguins 6, Maple Leafs 5
Coyotes 3, Wild 1
Blackhawks 3, Flames 2
Blues 4, Avalanche 1
Sharks 3, Kings 2
On Wednesday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Los Angeles Kings keep their point streak going?
They did, but they lost in a shootout, 3-2. The Kings have now earned a point in 11 straight games and have gained 13 of a possible 16 points since starting goaltender Jonathan Quick has been out of the lineup. They have given up more than two goals just one time over that stretch and never more than three.
2. Will Alex Ovechkin score against Ottawa?
He had an assist, but no goals in the Capitals' 6-4 loss as they allowed a 3-1 lead to slip away on home ice. Bobby Ryan had a pair of goals for the Senators in their come-from-behind win.
3. How will Pittsburgh play without Paul Martin?
For the first two periods they were a turnover machine, but my goodness did they turn things around in the third period and overtime, limiting the Maple Leafs to no shots over the final 25 minutes. That allowed Pittsburgh to come back from two goals down in the third period to win, 6-5.
4. How will Vincent Lecavalier perform in his return to Tampa Bay?
He scored a power-play goal to get Philadelphia on the board in the third period, but it proved to be too little, too late in the Flyers' 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was Lecavalier's first game in Tampa Bay since the Lightning bought him out of his contract over the summer.
5. Will the Phoenix Coyotes score four or more goals?
Now this is the type of win you expect to see from the Coyotes. Entering play on Wednesday as one of the highest scoring teams in the league (and also giving up quite a few goals), Phoenix was able to grind out a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Backup goalie Thomas Greiss stopped 28 of 29 shots in the win.
The one play or moment from Wednesday that will be making headlines over the next couple of days.
Again, it comes back to the Toronto Maple Leafs and their inability to control possession over the course of a game. They win because their goaltenders are miracle workers and because Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri have enough hot streaks offensively to keep them afloat. Sooner or later this style of player is going to come back and bite them. It did in a big way on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. You just can't go 25 minutes in a game where you get outshot 19-0. It's not a recipe for success.
Stat of the Night
With his third period goal on Wednesday, Jaromir Jagr moved passed Mario Lemieux on the all-time goal-scoring list with the 691st goal of his career. Jagr and Lemieux were long-time teammates in Pittsburgh and formed one of the best duos the league has ever seen. It wasn't enough for the Devils on Wednesday as they fell to the Hurricanes, 4-3.
Post to Post
- The NHL's concussion lawsuit is expanding.
- Jonathan Ericsson signed a big contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
- Five players to watch for Team USA.
- Would Martin Erat be a fit for the Ottawa Senators?