Evgeni Malkin: Penguin Is Red Hot in the Playoffs

Derek ReedCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 16:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins warms up before playing the New York Islanders on February 16, 2009 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins currently have a three-to-one advantage in their interstate series with the rival Philadelphia Flyers.

After a 3-1 victory at the Wachovia Center on Tuesday, Apr. 21, the Penguins will return to Mellon Arena this Thursday with a chance to end their first series of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Leading the way for the Pens is Evgeni Malkin. The Art Ross trophy winner is currently leading the league in goals and overall points (seven) in the playoffs. Incidentally he's also tied for most penalty minutes. Teammate Sidney Crosby is right behind Malkin with six points.

Malkin has scored four goals, one on a power play, and has assisted three times. As of right now, he looks to be an early favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy but does this mean Malkin can make a run at Hart Memorial Trophy?

If you're wondering if his post season performance will have any bearing on votes for the MVP the answer might surprise youno, the Hart Memorial Trophy is given to the MVP would displays the best regular season performance.

Malkin's old teammate and former nemesis, Alexander Ovechkin, has fallen flat in the playoffs, much like the Washington Capitals.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Evgeni Malkin has shined.

In Game One, he set the tone with a tight wrister to put the Penguins up two. His best game may have come in the the Game Three loss when he scored with 12 seconds left in the first period and on a power play in the third. Malkin's mother and father have been in attendance at ever game thus far.

The next stop is Pittsburgh, with the chance of wrapping up the conference quarter finals. We'll continue to track Malkin's performance and more importantly, his team as a whole.