THN at the Stanley Cup: Pens need more from their forwards in Game 4

PITTSBURGH – Three goals in three games are simply not enough for any team to seriously consider beating the powerful Detroit Red Wings.

But that is exactly how many goals the Pittsburgh Penguins have scored in three games of the Stanley Cup final. That’s the bad news.

The good news is the Penguins scored those three goals in Game 3 to get back into the series. But preparing to face the Red Wings in Game 4 tonight, they know they need to get goals from sources other than Sidney Crosby. Crosby scored twice in Game 3 with checking forward Adam Hall adding the other.

All eyes will be on the likes of Evgeni Malkin, who played better in Game 3 than the previous two games, but still needs to kick it up a notch, as well as Petr Sykora, Ryan Malone, Jordan Staal and Marian Hossa to contribute more. Sykora hasn’t scored a goal since the opening game of the Eastern Conference final.

“It’s not something we talk about, but it’s one of those things we know is there,” Hall said of his team’s lack of scoring in the final. “What we talk about is playing the way we know we can and putting ourselves in a position where we’ll generate scoring chances. Even though we were shutout in the first two games, we hit a few posts and had a few pucks lying on the goal line so we were satisfied that we had the chances. We have to start burying the chances, though.”

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Crosby is tied for the post-season scoring lead with Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg with 23 points apiece and said getting more offense is really fundamental.

“We want to make sure we get more pucks to the net,” Crosby said. “When we scored our first goal we really fed off that. We were energized. We need to score early tonight and then feed of that again.”

Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said he thought Malkin played better in Game 3 and hopes the trend will continue this evening.

“I thought he played a good game,” Therrien said. “He was skating better and he had a few chances. It’s a good sign; he’s going in the right direction.”

• Tomas Holmstrom skated with the Red Wings this morning, but will still be a game-time decision. He injured his leg in Game 3. “He skated well this morning and he’ll come back to the rink tonight,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “If he feels good enough to go, he’ll play. If not, he’ll be scratched.” Babcock said if Holmstrom does not play, veteran grinder Darren McCarty will take his spot in the lineup.

THN senior writer Mike Brophy is on the road following the Stanley Cup final and will be filing daily reports until a champion is crowned. To read his other entries, click HERE.

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