Pittsburgh Penguins: Top 5 Changes Pens Must Make to Move Past First Round

6 of 6

Mar 28, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) skates on the ice against the Arizona Coyotes during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. Find a way to spark Geno

Sidney Crosby has found his postseason pulse, posting his first two-goal playoff performance since 2013 in the Pens’ Game Two victory.

Next up is Evgeni Malkin who, through three games, remains pointless with a -1 ranking. Malkin’s shot totals have been particularly troubling, as he’s racked up only 4 shots through 3 games.

Patric Hornqvist, the only Penguin to score in the team’s recent 2-1 loss, managed 6 shots in the team’s last game alone.

While Malkin has looked dangerous on the ice, he simply hasn’t yet performed at the level he’s capable of – seen not by the lack of goals or assists, but by the lack of attempts.

He isn’t skating on a line with a couple of slouches either. With Chris Kunitz moving back up to play with Crosby, Malkin recently skated alongside Blake Comeau and David Perron – two wingers with more than enough skill and finishing ability to get Geno going.

Pittsburgh’s Game Three loss was most telling of Malkin’s shortcomings as, despite skating for over 20 minutes (the most of any Pens forward), the Russian star recorded zero shots and finished as a -1.

The issue is not one of Malkin possibly losing his edge or falling apart in the playoffs – Pittsburgh is only three games into their postseason after all. But it does seem clear that the team hasn’t gotten Malkin fully involved as of yet, and if they hope to advance past the first round and far into the playoffs, they’re going to need a little less of what transpired last night and a little more of this:

More from Pens Labyrinth