Crosby, Malkin Clicking at the Same Time by @BrianK_PI - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Crosby, Malkin Clicking at the Same Time by @BrianK_PI

Penguins fans are no strangers to watching generational talents thrive on the ice in Pittsburgh. A generation earlier, it was Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr leading the charge with the franchise's first two Stanley Cup championships. More recently, it's been Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin adding a pair of Cups of their own, hanging the banners in the new arena built mainly off the star power that these players provided.

Pittsburgh is no stranger to the Art Ross Trophy either, as Pens players have captured an astounding 15 of the last 28 scoring titles - 6 for Lemieux, 5 for Jagr, and 2 each for Crosby and Malkin, with only injuries preventing Crosby from doubling that number. And while Crosby and Malkin might rank 1-2 in points per game since entering the league, they're doing something that's been much more rare for the duo - chase down the scoring title together.

Because despite the personal accolades and offensive prowess, the stars never seemed to align at the same time for the two superstar centers. Aside from the 2010-11 season, when both players went down with season ending injuries in the middle of the year, one of the two has been in the top three in scoring in the league every season since Malkin entered the league in 2006-07. Despite that, only one season did the two both finish in the top three in scoring, and it's one of only two where both Crosby and Malkin each finished in the top 15. It's likely not a coincidence that the year was 2008-09, when Malkin won the Art Ross and the Penguins won the Stanley Cup.

Fast forward to 2016-17, and the two find themselves at the top of the leaderboard once again. Evgeni Malkin is currently tied with Connor McDavid for the league lead with 43 points. One point behind them sits Sidney Crosby in 3rd place, though Crosby leads the league in points per game with 1.31 due to the six games he's missed so far on the year. Crosby also leads the league with 26 goals in those 32 games, and also knocking on the door is Phil Kessel, who sits 6th in the NHL with 38 points in as many games.

Both have benefited from a period of relatively good health, especially Malkin, who has battled through various nagging injuries the past few seasons that have limited his games played and his ability while on the ice. Even more impressive, they haven't missed a beat with Kris Letang missing 12 games so far on the season, and a healthy roster should only further benefit the two. If the injury bug stays away, it's entirely possible that Crosby and Malkin are battling each other for the Art Ross Trophy down the stretch, but even more importantly it puts them and the team in a great position to see one of the two add to their Conn Smythe Trophy count.

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