Evgeni Malkin reached a milestone with his 400th career goal Tuesday. But the Pittsburgh Penguins’ star is already looking ahead at bigger numbers.
“Every goal is special,” the 33-year-old told reporters after the game. “(400 is) a good number for sure. It’s a huge number, but I want more for sure. I want 100 more.”
Malkin will try to add to his total when the Penguins play at Edmonton on Friday night.
Malkin scored No. 400 with an empty-net goal in a 4-1 victory at Calgary, joining Mario Lemieux (690), teammate Sidney Crosby (451) and Jaromir Jagr (439 in 11 seasons with Pittsburgh) as the only players in franchise history to reach that number.
“Those are special names,” Malkin said. “They’re legends. I want to be top, too. I want to play my top-level game. I feel it right now. I hope I play five, six more years with the Penguins and we’ll see. To be with Jagr, Lemieux, Crosby is amazing.”
Malkin had missed the previous two games, and had been bedridden for three days, with an illness.
“It wasn’t my best game, but I don’t care. We won an important two points,” Malkin said. “I hope I feel better tomorrow. Small step tonight. I felt great before the game, but I knew it would be tough.”
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said scoring an empty-netter shouldn’t diminish the magnitude of the milestone.
“I don’t care how you get it. Four-hundred goals is an awful lot of goals in this league,” said Sullivan, whose team has won three in a row. “It’s a testament to the type of player that he is, and what he’s accomplished in the time that he’s been here.
“He’s been one of the best players of his generation. This is just one more accolade that provides more evidence of how good he is.”
Goaltender Tristan Jarry made 33 saves against Calgary for his fifth win in six starts.
The Penguins have kept it together without Crosby, their captain, who has missed 17 games since his mid-November surgery on a core muscle injury. Pittsburgh is 10-4-3 without him.
The Oilers have lost five of their past six games, including a 2-1 defeat at St. Louis on Wednesday against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
James Neal had a late goal and Mikko Koskinen stopped 42 shots for the Oilers.
“Kept pushing but couldn’t get enough,” Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said. “Koskinen was excellent. Kept us in the game, so a little disappointing we couldn’t find a way to manufacture a little more offense.
“When the goaltender is that good, you’d like to do a little more in front of him. We need to make a few more plays, get up the ice cleaner, get ourselves up the ice with some speed.”
Edmonton was 0-for- 4 on the power play against the Blues, snapping an eight-game scoring streak with a man advantage.
“Our (penalty) kill kept us in it and Mikko, too, and we clawed back, and we hit the post but they don’t count those,” said Oilers forward Zack Kassian, who was playing in his 500th career NHL game. “I thought it was a winnable game.”
–Field Level Media