Player of the Week | Evgeni Malkin
Evgeni Malkin led the league in goals and points while notching his 12th NHL career hat trick – and had a big off-ice assist for Pittsburgh Penguins fans.
Jan. 29-Feb.4, 2018
Scored a league-high 6 goals and 8 points
Recorded 12th NHL career hat trick
Reached a 4-game goal-scoring streak
What ended as a great month of January ushered in another week of Evgeni Malkin's 'A' game.
Malkin, named January's first star of the month by the NHL for leading the league with 12 goals, segued into February by leading all players in goals and points by posting six goals as part of eight points over the week.
The Russian centre tallied his 12th NHL career hat trick Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks, helping the Penguins to a 5-2 win in front of teammate Matt Murray's 40 saves – his first game back in net since the death of his father.
"Last couple weeks, I feel like I'm so lucky," Malkin told NHL.com. "I try to help the team to win. I'm glad. I like my shot. It's coming. I'm just using my shot right now. … We have more confidence right now. It's more fun."
For his performance, which included the game-winning goal and 19:40 of ice time, Malkin was named the game's second star behind Murray.
"It's unbelievable. The way [Murray has] handled himself and just how much he means to this team. His effort was inspiring and I'm sure he's super excited about it," Penguins teammate Bryan Rust told reporters postgame.
Despite no game action Thursday, Malkin found a way notch an off-ice assist for Penguins fans, capturing this 'cool' moment of teammate and fan favourite Phil Kessel.
— Evgeni Malkin (@emalkin71geno) February 1, 2018
Next in town visiting the Penguins were their rival Washington Capitals for a Friday night matchup. Malkin was named the first star of 7-4 win for the home side as he lit the lamp twice and tallied two helpers, bringing him to 10 points in his previous three outings.
Despite a 3-1 loss on the road against the New Jersey Devils Saturday, Malkin found twine for his eighth marker in his current four-game goal-scoring streak with a beautiful backhanded tally.
The 2011-12 Ted Lindsay Award recipient currently ranks second in goals (29) and is tied for fifth in points (60) on the season.
Malkin and the Penguins return to Pittsburgh to take on a familiar face when former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights roll into town Tuesday, marking Fleury's first return to PPG Paints arena, which is sure to spark a warm welcome by both the fans and former teammates.