BUFFALO, N.Y. — Penguins coach Mike Johnston wants center Evgeni Malkin to shoot the puck with more frequency.
While Johnston is pleased with Malkin’s performance this season, he said he believes Malkin’s inability to score an even-strength goal before the Penguins’ 6-1 victory Saturday — when he scored his first — was because he was not shooting the puck enough.
Through 12 games, Malkin put 28 shots on goal, or 2.33 per game.
“His shot total is one thing that really has to go up,” Johnston said. “He has a great shot. He just has to use it more.”
Malkin has played on a line with wingers Pascal Dupuis and Blake Comeau most of this season.
Johnston wants more production from that line, but he said his team’s level of play at even-strength must increase. The Penguins have been a special teams juggernaut early this season, and while they had outscored the opposition 28-19 in even-strength situations before Saturday, the coach wants to see more.
• Johnston appeared amused when a Buffalo reporter mentioned that some questioned Sidney Crosby’s leadership during the 2014 postseason.
“I’ve seen nothing of that,” Johnston said. “Everything I see is that he leads by example. Look at the great leaders in this game over time. It’s usually people who lead by example. The great work ethic. He’s a great example of that. I think he’s done a great job.”
— Josh Yohe