NHL Playoffs Roundup: Has Evgeni Malkin’s Return Disrupted Penguins’ Chemistry?

April 16th, 2016 by Adrian Dater Leave a reply »

The Pittsburgh Penguins are unquestionably a more talented team with Evgeni Malkin in the lineup. The big Russian center is one of the game's most skilled players, a two-time Art Ross Trophy winner with a Hart Trophy and Stanley Cup also on his resume.

So why, especially this season, did Pittsburgh do so much better without Malkin in the lineup? This is a question some around the Penguins might be thinking more about, especially after their 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Saturday afternoon at Consol Energy Center.

The series is now tied at a game apiece, with the setting for the next two games moving to Madison Square Garden starting Tuesday night.

Things were going fine for the Penguins to the mid-point of the game, when some defensive miscues did them in. Eric Fehr was caught watching the puck too much on the other side, allowing Keith Yandle to sneak down the weak side and one-time J.T. Miller's crossing pass past Jeff Zatkoff. Defenseman Olli Maatta let Derick Brassard slip behind him in the neutral zone for the Rangers' second goal, and Trevor Daley and Carl ...

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