Slow start - 11-04-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

To say the least, the Penguins have been inconsistent this season. Saturday in Carolina, they looked unbeatable as they put forth a team-wide commitment to defense.

Last night in Dallas, they looked very beatable as they put forth a team-wide commitment to allowing the Stars to do whatever they wanted in the offensive zone.

They've been up one game and down the next.

How much can this be attributed to Evgeni Malkin? After steadily producing roughly a point per game in his first eight contests this season, Malkin has been shut out in three of the Penguins' last four games.

And with just nine points in 12 games this season, this is his his worst start in term of production in his five-year career. Here's how he has produced in the first 12 games of each of his five NHL seasons:

Season Goals-
2006-07 9-6-15 1.25
2007-08 5-12-17 1.42
2008-09 4-14-18 1.50
2009-10 4-10-14 1.17
2010-11 3-6-9 0.75

There certainly many other factors in play here in regards to the Penguins' troubles such as Marc-Andre Fleury's issues and Jordan Staal's injuries, so it's completely unfair to pinpoint this on Malkin exclusively.

At the same time, an increase in production could have meant an extra win or two for the Penguins.

(Photo: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

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