Sure, Evgeni Malkin his leading the NHL in points right now, but that's not the only reason he is a clear-cut Hart Trophy finalist.
Malkin has come through for the Penguins when they needed him the most. Superstar Sidney Crosby has played only eight games all season, and even now, nobody is sure when "Sid the Kid" will be back. Jordan Staal has also missed significant time during the season due to injury, leaving the Penguins thin down the middle.
But with key teammates out of action, Malkin has raised up his game. He is second in the league in goals and first overall in points. He has a total of 26 points on the power play and already has a career-high eight game-winning goals with 20 games left on the schedule.
Malkin has also become a real leader in the locker room. Early in his career, he seemed quiet and reserved mostly due to his limited understanding of English. Now, there is no doubt that Malkin is someone all of his teammates look to when the game is on the line.
Without Malkin's key contributions, Pittsburgh would be struggling just to make the playoffs. Instead, the Pens are fighting for home-ice advantage in the first round and are a team that nobody wants to face in April or May.