Game three, one superstar vs. another superstar—Ovechkin vs. Crosby, Washington vs. Pittsburgh. Following game two, Pittsburgh Penguins' Sid the Kid showed his leadership off the ice when he was quick to defend teammate Evgeni Malkin, who has been shut out in the first two playoff games against the Washington Capitals.
“We can’t expect Geno to score every game, it’s really a collective effort,” said Crosby, who has registered eight goals these playoffs.
“It’s up to us to do our part of course, but I think he’s working to get chances. The opportunities are there, but it’s the playoffs and it’s tight and there’s going to be times where it’s a little bit difficult.”
Pittsburgh, who were seeded fourth in Eastern Conference with 99 points, got a huge performance in the first round of the playoffs from Malkin, as he scored nine points against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Malkin, who led the NHL in scoring with 113 points, will get his next opportunity to break out of his two game slump tonight, when the Penguins return to Mellon Arena. The Penguins will try to get back into the series, as they currently trail the Caps 2-0.
Even though the finger is being pointed squarely at Malkin for not scoring, the blame should be spread around to the other players, as well (with the exception of Crosby). The captain has registered four (including a hat trick in game two) of the team’s five goals so far and needs help from his teammates if the Penguins are to go far.
Pittsburgh will have their work cut out for them as the red-hot, second-seeded Capitals have now won five straight games since trailing 3-1 in round one against the New York Rangers.
Over the years, Pittsburgh has had their way with the Capitals in winning six out of seven series. The only time Washington eliminated the Penguins was way back in 1994, when they won their conference quarter-finals in six games.
Playing in front of their enthusiastic home crowd, expect Malkin to step up and dominate like he did in the regular season.