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NHL - US Sports: Sullivan lauds Malkin

Coach Mike Sullivan couldn't praise forward Evgeni Malkin enough after he returned from illness to score a hat-trick and an assist for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 11-2 thrashing of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Penguins, 15/1 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22, improved to 4-1-1 in the past six games with the convincing victory and now sit second in the Metropolitan Division (40-17-10).

Making up for lost time

35-year-old Malkin missed the first few months of the NHL season after undergoing knee surgery in the off season. 

He returned on 11th January and has scored 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in 30 games.

Drafted with the second overall pick of the 2004 NHL draft, Malkin has amassed 1,136 points (440 goals, 696 assists) in 970 regular season games with the Penguins.

In the playoffs he has 174 points (64 goals, 110 assists) in 170 appearances and has lifted the Stanley Cup three times (2009, 2016 and 2017).

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Amongst the all-time greats

Malkin's three against the Red Wings was his 13th career hat-trick and helped the Penguins score the most goals they've managed in a game since November 1993. They are the third NHL team in the past 26 years to score 11 in a game.

Sullivan, who coached Pittsburgh to the two most recent Stanley Cup successes said of Malkin: "Geno, in my mind, is one of the greatest players of all time - not just of his generation.

"When he's at his best, he's one of the few players that can take a game over. We're fortunate we have a couple of them on our team (as well as Captain Sidney Crosby)."

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