Ovechkin thinks Malkin just needs to relax

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Alexander Ovechkin has some advice for fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin — just keep working hard and the goals will start going in.

And whatever you do, don’t worry what people are saying.

Malkin, who scored 50 goals for Pittsburgh in 2011-12, is currently mired in a much-talked-about, 14-game goal drought. His Penguins are in Washington to play Ovechkin’s Capitals tonight (on NBCSN).

“When you [don’t] score goals, when you [don’t] make assists, when your name is [not] on the score [sheet], of course, everybody think like you’re bad,” Ovechkin said, per CSN Washington. “But sometimes you don’t have a great game but you get a point and everybody think you play well.

“Of course, it matters [what people think]. When I was a little kid, my first couple years, I know nobody here. I just read the front pages and the news and I was crazy about it.

“But right now, to be honest with you, I don’t care what the people say, what the media say. Of course, I read this kind of stuff, but most of the time I read it and forget it in a couple seconds.”

To be fair to Malkin, it’s not like his name is completely invisible on the scoresheet. He does have 12 assists in the 14 games he’s failed to put a puck in the net, and his 17 assists on the season rank fourth overall in the NHL, behind only Joe Thornton (20), Nicklas Backstrom (19), and Henrik Sedin (18). That’s not bad company right there.

But Malkin is more than a passer, and it needs to be noted he’s only registered 14 shots in his last eight games combined.

Or maybe it doesn’t need to be noted?

“He just have to relax and forget about it,” said Ovechkin.