Rocket Richard Trophy

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Evgeni Malkin rockets into Rocket Richard race


Step aside SpaceX, Evgeni Malkin has blasted off.

For while there, it appeared that Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Nikita Kucherov would battle it out for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

The two Russians traded places with each other on top of the goal-scoring summit, a two-horse race for bragging rights back home and around the NHL.

That in its own right would have been a fantastic duel to watch down the stretch here.

But Kucherov hasn’t scored in his past 11 games, and that’s opened the door for a couple others to join the race.

Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson, for instance, inserted himself into the conversation among the best snipers in the NHL with 28 goals on the season. And if it wasn’t for another familiar sniper over the past 10 days, this article might be centering around the young Swede and his pursuit of Ovi.

Instead, over the past five games, Malkin — the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar who has flirted with Richard’s honor in the past — has skyrocketed into second place, two goals back of compatriot Ovechkin.

Malkin’s last five games have been nothing short of spectacular. Here’s a quick look:

Yes, Malkin has nine goals during a five-game goal-scoring streak.



ДЕВЯТЬ (Russian for nine)

He also has 16 tallies in his past 13 games. It’s a bit crazy.

Malkin is shooting at 43 percent during those five games and now sits at 18.4 percent on the season.

Unsurprisingly, Malkin’s torrid pace has equated to success for the Penguins, who have won four of their past five games and now sit in second in the Metropolitan Division. In a division that no one seems to want to put their stamp on, Malkin is doing his best to help the Penguins change that.

Malkin won’t continue shooting above 40 percent. But consider that he’s scoring a goal every 5.4 shots and that he’s averaging over three shots per game.

Math is hard, but this appears to mean a lot more goals could come off the stick of No. 71 before the season is over.

Grab some popcorn.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, and Corey Perry take home first NHL Awards

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Not all of the NHL’s regular season awards are handed out after a red carpet ceremony in Las Vegas after the Stanley Cup final is over and done with. Some of them are decided thanks to the statistics acquired during the regular season rather than put to a vote and the Vancouver Canucks are already picking up a lot of hardware.

Daniel Sedin secured the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer completing his season with 104 points. Sedin finished five points ahead of Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and six points ahead of Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Sedin finished the year with 41 goals and 63 assists and figures to be a Hart Trophy finalist after helping lead the Canucks to the Presidents’ Trophy.

Sedin is the tenth different player to win the Art Ross Trophy in the last ten years. After so many years of seeing the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky dominate year after year, parity isn’t just for the standings anymore.

Sedin’s Canucks teammates Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider took home the Jennings Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltending tandem. The pair of goalies allowed just 185 goals this season, the best mark in the league. It’s the first time any goaltenders from Vancouver have won the award and it speaks to the defensive dominance we’ve seen out of the Canucks this season. With all the goals they’re scoring and preventing, it’s easy to see why the Canucks are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Oddly enough Luongo isn’t being mentioned very much at all for Vezina Trophy consideration. With 38 wins and a 2.11 goals against average with a .928 save percentage, he should at least get considered.

Corey Perry’s huge season scoring 50 goals was good enough to get him the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. Perry’s outburst in the final two months of the season in willing the Ducks into the playoffs and the fourth seed in the Western Conference carried him up the goal rankings and flying past Steve Stamkos on his way to being the NHL’s lone 50 goal scorer. Perry finished five goals ahead of Stamkos while Jarome Iginla was seven back with 43 goals.

All of these players will get to continue making their presence felt in the playoffs as the Canucks are the top seed in the West and the Ducks are the fourth seed. Whether we see them take home more awards will have to wait until the end of June.