Twice now Evgeni Malkin has had to step up for the Pittsburgh Penguins when Sidney Crosby was out with an injury (2008 ankle and good portions of the 2011 & 2012 seasons with a concussion)
Malkin suffered a concussion during a game against the Florida Panthers
Now, the script has flipped as Malkin is out with a concussion with Crosby needing to carry the team.
In both of Crosby's absences, Malkin would produce two of his best seasons to date with 106 points and 113 points in the 2008 & 2012 seasons respectively, with a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008.
One thing though that may make Crosby's task more difficult is the fact he will need to do what Malkin did, but with a shortened season. With a shortened season, practically every game will be a playoff game as the majority of teams still figure to be in the playoff picture at the beginning of April when the trade deadline approaches.
In Pittsburgh's first game without Malkin, Crosby lead the Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, finishing with 2 goals and an assist. Crosby clearly has all the talent in the world and leadership skills to help carry the extra load during Malkin's absence. What remains to be seen is how long with the Penguins be without Malkin and will a shortened season have a different effect on Crosby and the Penguins, as opposed to when Malkin had a good majority of the season to play with while Crosby was out?
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