Penguins coach Mike Sullivan encouraging Evgeni Malkin, linemates to shoot more |

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan encouraging Evgeni Malkin, linemates to shoot more

Jonathan Bombulie
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin centers a pass past the Lightning Victor Hedman in the third period Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 at

The Pittsburgh Penguins got plenty of production from their top line on a two-game road trip this week. Take Sidney Crosby’s natural hat trick in Colorado for instance.

They also got strong contributions from the fourth line. Take the goals Derek Grant and Riley Sheahan scored in Winnipeg for example.

What was largely missing during the two-game split was production from the middle six.

In an effort to solve that problem, coach Mike Sullivan is encouraging center Evgeni Malkin to shoot the puck more.

Malkin has 10 points over his past 13 games, so it’s hard to say he’s officially in a slump, but he’s only scored one even-strength goal during that span.

“When you look at Geno’s game in Winnipeg and in Colorado, they’re two pretty solid efforts,” Sullivan said. “I thought’s Geno’s line had a lot of offensive-zone time in Colorado. They didn’t get as much out of the effort, and I think part of it is just putting the puck on net a little bit more.”

Sullivan reiterated his core belief that nothing breaks down defensive coverage better than a shot on goal.

“We talked to Geno’s line about that, just showing them opportunities where they could have put the puck on the net a little bit more,” Sullivan said. “I think they’ll create off of that. I do think Geno’s trending in the right direction.”

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Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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