Penguins insider: Malkin found confidence in Game 3
Evgeni Malkin found something late in Game 3.
“Confidence maybe,” Malkin said after the Penguins' 4-3 victory staked them to a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Malkin, the playoff MVP five years ago, has yet to score a goal in this series — or since a clinching win over Ottawa in Round 2 last postseason. That is a span of seven postseason contests, and it is tied for the most games he has gone without a goal in the playoffs.
Droughts are not foreign to Malkin's playoff history. He has gone at least four consecutive games without a goal in six of seven prior postseasons.
He does have three assists against Columbus, including one on winger Jussi Jokinen's winning goal in Game 3 on Monday night. That assist earned Malkin a 100th playoff point.
He was much more interested in the third period as a whole, though.
“I liked my line,” Malkin said, referring to the Penguins' No. 2 unit that consists of him, Jokinen and winger James Neal. “We moved the puck. Neal had a couple of chances. Same with Jussi. We need to just play the same.”
The No. 2 line combined for 19 shot attempts in Game 3, or 26 percent of the Penguins' total (73). For the series, which resumes with Game 4 on Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena, the Penguins' second line has accounted for 56 of the Penguins' 216 attempted shots (25.9 percent).
So Game 3 was not much different statistically. However, it felt different, Jokinen said.
“The last 30 minutes, we were really good,” Jokinen said, noting his linemates were not pleased with their combined performance in a Game 2 home loss.
“(Neal and Malkin) were hard on the forecheck. They didn't give (Blue Jackets passers) any time. They applied pressure and forced some bad plays, and I got a turnover.
“They know I'm there as the (supporting forward), so they could take some chances. That's when we're at our best — when they can be aggressive, get some turnovers and they can go right to the net.”
Malkin and Neal have yet to score a goal. Neither has the top-line center/sniper combo of captain Sidney Crosby and winger Chris Kunitz.
Malkin's line, though, is about more than just the points it can produce, third-line winger Tanner Glass said.
“That's a big line, and it can be a physical line,” Glass said. “They don't necessarily dole out the punishment, but they can play in the tough areas against a physical team like the one we're playing.”
The Blue Jackets' physicality — they have 164 hits — has proven problematic for maintaining puck possession, Malkin said.
“It's tough, but it's starting to get good,” Malkin said. “I like my game now.
“Of course, we need to score. Maybe everybody else worries. I don't worry. Soon it (will) come, I know it.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Dupuis’ absence will alter roles on penalty kill
- Fleury denied 300th win as Penguins lose to Islanders in shootout
- New assistant Agnew has Pens’ PK, defense among league’s best
- Starkey: Pens move on with, without Dupuis
- Rossi: For Penguins’ Dupuis, family must come first
- Penguins fans from England, Spain journey across pond to Pittsburgh
- Penguins notebook: Fleury awaits word on when he’ll vie for 300th victory
- Replacing versatile Dupuis could prove difficult for Penguins
- Penguins fight off Jets, win in shootout
- Shuffling of Penguins’ top lines expected in immediate future
- Penguins notebook: Defenseman Maatta likely to return soon