Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin Each 3 Points Shy of Milestones Versus Islanders

James ConleyContributor IIIMarch 27, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 20:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin #71 talk before a face-off against the Winnipeg Jets during the game at Consol Energy Center on March 20, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins face the New York Islanders Tuesday night in their fifth meeting of the season.

The Pens have swept the season series so far, and will be looking to add wins in a home-and-home with the Islanders as they duel the New York Rangers for first in the Atlantic.

Pittsburgh's offense is the story of late as Sidney Crosby's second return has seen the team score nearly five goals per game in its last seven contests.

Crosby enters Tuesday's game three points shy of 600 for his career.

The Islanders have done their part to contribute to his total. Crosby has 66 points in 34 career games against the Islanders (20 G, 46 A)—his most against any single opponent.

Evgeni Malkin will join him in the hunt for scoring, as Malkin is just three points shy of reaching 100 this season.

It would be Malkin's third 100-point campaign in six NHL seasons and first since 2008-09.

Crosby has played only 15 games this season, but has collected four goals and 21 assists in those contests.

His current 1.67 points per game average is gaudy and puts him on pace for 137 over an 82-game season.

Gaudy though it may be, the number isn't unrealistic. Crosby had a 1.41 PPG average in 41 straight games last season (66 points in 41 games).

A series of concussions ended that campaign and have twice interrupted the current one, though they haven't slowed Sid's production.

Malkin's 2010-11 season came to an early end like Crosby's, though he fast regained his Art Ross form this year.

Malkin has led the league in scoring for most of this season and currently holds a nine-point lead over Steven Stamkos.

Three more points will put him at the 100-point plateau and with six games remaining after Tuesday's date with the Islanders, Malkin is in good position to claim his second scoring title.

Should he do so, he ought to be the clear favorite to capture his first Hart Trophy as league MVP.

He'd be the first Penguin take MVP honors since Crosby won the Hart in 2007. Malkin won the Calder Trophy in that same season.

He'll look to match Crosby's hardware cabinet with his own Hart Trophy. A third-career 100-point season ought to help lock one up.

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