Crosby plays a power and speed game.
Malkin plays the mental game, like Lemieux, though not as well of course.
A Crosby goal is where he takes a pass in the middle of two defenders speeding past them, making a goalie go down, and picking a top corner. If Malkin ended up in a similar situation, he'd most likely fall.
A Malkin goal is taking the puck and beating a player one on one, faking the goalie out, and sliding the puck on the ice into an empty net. If Crosby ended up in a similar situation, he would pick a side, get a step, and try and lean the player out potentially getting hammered in the process.
Crosby is a better goal scorer. He likes to go to the net putting himself on the receiving end for passes. Look how he used Hossa vs how Malkin uses Neal.
Malkin is the better playmaker. He creates more open space for his teammates. He needs goal scorers as linemates vs playmakers. He likes to run the play, unless he's playing with Crosby, where then he almost forces it to him.
Crosby has a more accurate shot. He prefers the snapshot/wristshot.
Malkin has a harder shot. He prefers the slapshot.
Crosby plays better N/S. Crosby plays a straight line game.
Malkin plays better E/W/N/S. Malkin plays a flashy game. This is also why they prefer Malkin to bring it up on the PP vs Crosby.
Don't you guys notice that WHENEVER Crosby isn't around...Malkin steps it up? That tells you he has another gear hiding around. Also, the team is built more around Crosby's style vs Malkin's style. That is a factor as well.
I find Malkin plays either exciting or facepalm hockey...there is no middle ground for him .
Visibly you would think Malkin is the better player. As in he carries the puck more. For a star Crosby seriousley doesn't get much time on the puck. Especially in the neutral zone. Has a lot to do with his wingers though. But then he will just make a quick amazing play and then score or set up a goal.