Since the reemergence of Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins are doing nothing but benefiting from his fine play. The offensive slump for Malkin and the rest of the team is a distant memory as the Penguins have won eight of the last 11 games while taking a commanding lead in the Metropolitan Division.
Not only is Malkin looking like his old self, but he is chasing teammate Sidney Crosby and the two-headed monster are going neck and neck for the Art Ross Trophy. If all goes well for head coach Dan Bylsma, the two will continue to battle it out meaning his offense is back to being the well-oiled machine it is known to be.
Most importantly, Pittsburgh has been showing some resiliency in some of their recent wins. Over the last few years, the Penguins were never considered down for the count in a single game until the final buzzer. Their consistent offense always kept them in a game despite giving up the first goal or trailing going into the third period.
Well it is safe to say they are back in full force in that sense. Tuesday they scored three unanswered goals after trailing 2-0 to the New York Islanders for almost two periods. James Neal got the Penguins on the board at 19:44 of the second period before Crosby scored the tying goal in the third and the game-winner in overtime.
Last week against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh found themselves in a bigger hole when they trailed 4-1 midway through the game. Once again their resilient offense helped them climb back in the game despite trailing 5-3 going into the third period. Malkin and Neal scored in the final frame, sending the game to a shootout where Malkin scored the deciding goal.
As Pittsburgh attempts to stay on a consistent track their mentality is the key. It makes it more difficult for opposing teams to know that no lead is safe when pinned up against the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference. The scary part is that they are doing all of this without forwards Beau Bennett and Chuck Kobasew.
Pittsburgh ranks first in the NHL in power play (26 percent), sixth on the penalty kill (including 24 of the last 27 — 89 percent) and they are finally finding their groove very reminiscent to their winning streak last season even when playing from behind.