Heading into Monday night’s game six, Evgeni Malkin had yet to solve fellow countrymen Sergei Bobrosvky despite having 16 shots on net. While having four helpers kept him relevant in the series, it was the goal drought that had Penguins fans worried that one of their biggest weapons had lost his touch.
Those fears were soon put to rest as last night Malkin single-handedly helped his team advance to the second round by scoring his second-career postseason hat-trick.
The man they lovingly call Geno opened the scoring by sniping his first goal of this post season past Bobrovsky midway through the first period. The sniping trend would continue as Malkin would rifle a wrister from the top of the circle past a sprawling Bobrovsky on the man-advantage just minutes later.
After Brandon Sutter expanded Pittsburgh’s lead to 3, Malkin would score his third goal of the game beating his Olympic teammate short-side on a 2-on-1 break to complete the trick.
It was his first three goal performance in the post season since 2009 which came against the Carolina Hurricanes where he scored one of his most memorable tallies. Malkin becomes the first Russian to score a hat trick against a fellow Russian in the playoffs.
Monday’s performance proved why Geno is a star in this league and why whoever plays the Penguins next should tread lightly.