Malkin earns rookie honours
The accolades continued for Evgeni Malkin on Thursday as the Pittsburgh Penguins forward was named the NHL's rookie of the month.
Malkin finished the month of October scoring nine points in five games, despite having his NHL debut delayed by a dislocated shoulder he suffered in his first pre-season game.
On Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings, the young Russian equalled an 89-year record by beginning his NHL career scoring in his first six games.
Malkin tied the mark set by Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde and Cy Denneny, who each recorded goals in their first six games during the NHL's inaugural season in 1917-18.
The 20-year-old rookie sensation then scored the overtime goal — his second of the game — to beat the Kings 4-3, giving Pittsburgh its fifth straight victory.
Malkin began the season on the second line, butthe immediate emergence of his talentpersuaded Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien to promote his young star.
Therrien put Malkin on the first line with 19-year-old phenom Sidney Crosby and Colby Armstrong on Oct. 24 against the New Jersey Devils, with the chemistry evident from the opening faceoff.
The two franchise players combined for four points, including Malkin's eye-popping goal where he deked two New Jersey defenceman before beating Martin Brodeur with a spectacular reach-around backhand move.
Malkin, a natural centre, said the transition to wing was a smooth one because of Crosby's immense talent.
"It's great to play with Sidney Crosby because he's one of the best players," Malkin said in a conference call earlier this week.
"He has a great view on the ice. He's always going to find you with his great passes. It's still a little bit difficult because I'm not used to playing on the wing. But I think it's going to take a little bit of time. I think I will play my role better and better because it's easy to play with a player like Sidney Crosby."
Malkin, drafted second overall in the 2004 entry draft, has scored seven goals and four assists for 11 points through his first six games.
"It's quite amazing to see what he's doing the first few games of his career in the NHL," said Hall of Famer and Penguins legend Mario Lemieux.
"We knew he was a great talent, but not to that extent. From what I've seen so far, he's going to be a great player for many years to come."
With files from the Canadian Press