Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Scoring Depth Lacking in Nashville

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Scoring Depth Lacking in Nashville

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Much was made coming into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night about how both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held without a shot on goal in the previous game.

Crosby rectified that, scoring his first Stanley Cup final goal since 2009 in the first period. But that was the only offense the Penguins mustered in their 4-1 loss to Nashville, which evened the series at two games apiece. Malkin, too, finished the night with two shots on goal and five shot attempts.

The problem, though, is that even though the stars might have started to show up for the Penguins Monday night, their scoring depth effectively evaporated in these two games in Nashville, a significant reason this series is coming back to Pittsburgh tied up rather than with the Penguins ahead.

"Well, we didn't get a lot of [depth scoring] tonight," center Matt Cullen said. "But I thought that all the lines were generating. I thought that all the lines were going and working. Tonight it didn't go."

The only two goals in Games 3 and 4 came from Crosby and Jake Guentzel. Even though he's just a rookie, Guentzel leads the NHL in playoff goals and is one away from setting the rookie postseason record. There was a time when goals from him counted as offensive depth, but not anymore.

Malkin nearly scored early in the third when his wraparound attempt went off the post, but he was held without a point in two consecutive games for just the second time in these playoffs. In the Penguins' Game 4 loss, Crosby, Guentzel, Malkin and Phil Kessel combined for 11 of their 24 total shots on goal, a full 48.5 percent. No other forward on the Penguins' roster had more than one shot on goal.

"I do still believe that there's another gear here," Cullen said. "I thought that we did some things better, but again, better isn't enough right now. …

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