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NHL: Confidence growing for fit-again Malkin

After recovering from knee surgery, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin says his confidence is growing and he expects to get even better following the All-Star break.

The Penguins, 15/1 to win the Stanley Cup and 8/1 to claim the Eastern Conference title, welcomed back the Russian on 11th January, and he has since scored 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 12 games, which includes a current nine-game point-streak.

Despite Malkin's form the Penguins headed into the All-Star break with four straight defeats.

However, with a 27-11-8 record, they still remain within two points of the Metropolitan Division leaders Carolina Hurricanes.

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A three-time Stanley Cup Champion (2009, 2016, 2017), Malkin ranks third in Penguins history for points (1,117) and assists (688), fourth in goals (429) and second in games (952).

The associate captain scored on the powerplay in the Penguins' final game before the break and his return has signalled a remarked improvement for Pittsburgh's man advantage, going 9 for 17 (52.9 per cent) over the past five games.

Malkin helps breed consistency

Malkin has helped the Penguins qualify for the play-offs in each of the past 14 seasons, appearing 170 times, recording 174 points (64 goals, 110 assists).

He said to the media: "I feel my knee is normal right now. I'm trying to play simple right now, but I think my confidence is back at a little bit high level right now.

"After the break, I hope I start playing more and more minutes and coach trusts me more. I know I can play better, and I will."

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