Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world, but few can take over a game like Evgeni Malkin. When he’s at his best, or angry, nobody is better.
In January, Malkin was on a torrid run. He scored 12 goals in the final 10 games of the month. It was the fourth time in his career he scored 10 goals over a 10-game span. His 12 goals in those 10 contests is a new career-high.
With five assists in those 10 games, Malkin is arguably on the best hot streak he’s ever had.
Of course, there hasn’t been a shortage of Malkin hot streaks during his 12-year career. Here are the five best hot streaks from the career of No. 71.
5. Evgeni Malkin carries Penguins in November 2015
Malkin’s had longer hot streaks, but this may be the most important regular season scoring explosion he’s ever experienced. It seems like a distant memory now, but at the beginning of the 2015-16 season, the Penguins struggled mightily to find consistency. It eventually led to the firing of Mike Johnston and then promotion of Mike Sullivan.
If it weren’t for Malkin, maybe Johnston would have been fired much earlier. No. 71 carried the Penguins through October and November, keeping them afloat enough to give Pittsburgh a chance at a second-half run and eventually two Stanley Cups.
From Nov. 17 to Dec. 1, Malkin scored eight goals and 13 points in seven games. He found the back of the net in every game during that stretch but one, and his scores included gems like these two:
4. Malkin scores 50 goals in 2012
No. 71 has reached 50 goals in a season once during his career. Incredibly, he did it in just 75 games during the 2011-12 campaign.
He didn’t have a better scoring stretch than the one he had in January of that season. In nine games from Jan. 7-22, he posted 11 goals and 15 points. His best performance came on Jan. 15 where he recorded a hat trick with two assists for a career-best five points.
Malkin didn’t score any points in the 10th game of that stretch, but still, up until Tuesday, this was the only time in his career where he recorded more than 10 goals over a 10-game stint.
3. Malkin wins scoring title in 2012
No. 71 last scored 100 points in a season during the 2011-12 campaign, so naturally, two of his best hot streaks are from that season. He registered 109 points in, again, just 75 contests.
His January was excellent, but the final 15 games of the regular season were arguably just as good. For the second time of the season, Malkin scored 10 goals in 10 games.
From March 11-April 7, Malkin posted 12 goals and 28 points in 15 games. During the 2011-12 season, he recorded four 5-point nights. The fourth and final one of the season came during this streak on March 20 against Winnipeg.
In between both streaks, he wasn’t all that bad either, scoring goals like this one:
2. Malkin establishes himself as an elite player in February 2008
Malkin did win the Calder Trophy in 2006-07, recording 33 goals and 85 points, but then as a second-year player, Malkin absolutely exploded.
He finished just shy of a 50-goal season with 47 scores and posted his first 100-point campaign with 106 in 82 games. A big reason why he finished with those totals was that of his hot February.
In 10 games from Feb. 2-21, Malkin scored eight goals and 24 points. His 2.4 points per game average is still the highest he’s ever been able to maintain for a 10-game span.
1. 2009 Conn Smythe Winner
While this wasn’t his hottest streak, because it led to a championship, it has to be the best. A season after losing the Stanley Cup to the Detroit Red Wings, Malkin wasted no time getting revved up for the 2009 playoffs. He posted four goals in the first three games against Philadelphia in the first round and then 10 points during the second round versus Washington.
But his most memorable performances of that run came in the Eastern Conference Finals against Carolina. In the first three games of that series, Malkin scored six goals and nine points, including a Game 2 hat trick – the first of his playoff career.
In the first three rounds of that postseason, he recorded 12 goals and 28 points in 17 games. Because that was against playoff competition, that has to be the most impressive hot streak of Malkin’s career. You have to love the crowd noise and “Geno” chant, right?
He slowed down a bit in the Stanley Cup Finals versus Detroit, but once again, he posted more than a point per game with two goals and eight points in the seven-game series. Malkin ended the 2009 postseason with 14 goals and 36 points.