Malkin wins Conn Smythe as playoff MVP
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin completed a rare triple this season, winning the Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring champion, the Conn Smythe Trophy as top playoff performer and, of course, the Stanley Cup.
Malkin, 22, was presented with the Conn Smythe Trophy by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman following Pittsburgh's 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.
Malkin is the first Russian to receive the Conn Smythe and the third European behind Nicklas Lidstrom (2002) and Henrik Zetterberg (2008), both from Detroit.
Malkin, considered one of the most creative players on the planet, topped all skaters with 36 playoff points, including an assist on Maxime Talbot's goal 73 seconds into the second period of Game 7.
"Big day in my life," Malkin told CBC Sports. "My friends are happy, I'm happy."
It marked the highest post-season output since Wayne Gretzky posted 40 points for the Los Angeles Kings in 1993.
"It is the biggest day of my life," Malkin told CBC Sports.
Malkin is the first player to win the regular-season and post-season scoring titles in the same season since Penguins majority owner Mario Lemieux turned the trick in 1992 — the last time Pittsburgh captured the Stanley Cup.
"He [Malkin] told us before the playoffs that he was going to lead us to the Stanley Cup," Penguins forward Bill Guerin said. "He is an amazing competitor, an amazing player."
Malkin had two hat tricks and chalked up eight goals and 17 points over Pittsburgh's final 11 playoff games.
That late surge helped erase the memory of last spring's playoff run, when he managed just five points in the final 10 games.
"It was his first time playing that long," Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik said. "I don't think his body was really physically ready for it."
Malkin is also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player, to be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 18.
With files from The Canadian Press