PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — The Penguins received some push-back from the Western Conference Champions in Game 3, falling 5-1 to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Pittsburgh hopes to get back on the right track Monday in Game 4 in front of that loud Nashville crowd again.
TSN Hockey insider Darren Dreger took some time to join The Fan Morning Show on Monday and talked about the Penguins powerplay that has gone just 1 for 14 so far this series. He notes that assistant coach Rick Tocchet and Phil Kessel were working on things and talking about the powerplay together at the practice skate on Sunday, and also cited one star in particular that may need to change his game heading into Game 4.
“I’m sure Tocchet and Mike Sullivan and the team in general wants Phil to shoot more and that’s when he is most dangerous and that’s when he’s at his best,” said Dreger. “That doesn’t apply to just Kessel for the powerplay. I think Sidney Crosby is deferring too much. He’s passing too much and that’s pretty obvious when you look at the stat sheet at the end of Game 3 and you see there were no shot attempts from Malkin or Sidney Crosby. They’ve got to find a way to get pucks on net.”
Dreger said of his feelings going into game 4…
“My feel is similar to what it was going into Game 3,” said Dreger. “Nashville is too good of a team to have been swept. Pittsburgh has got to match the intensity of the Nashville Predators or they are going to need some help from the officials. They didn’t get that in Game 3. I mean, the rule book, at times, seemed to be thrown out the window. But that’s playoff hockey and I expect more of that tonight [Monday]. So, Pittsburgh’s going to have to find a way to match it or find a way to use that quick strike offense which we saw in the first two games of this series. If the Pens can take an early 2-0 lead, maybe that puts a little bit of heat on the Nashville Predators and things open up a little bit. But, they’re going to have to find a way to, again, up their level of emotion in Game 4.”
After taking Game 3 and only allowing one puck to get behind, Dreger still isn’t ready to say that Pekka Rinne has gotten over the woes he has had against the Penguins.
“To say that he’s back to form, the form that we saw Pekka Rinne play for the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Final, I think it’s a little early for that,” said Dreger. “I think that he needs another really good performance and that doesn’t necessarily mean the Preds are going to win Game 4 with a performance like that, but to give them a real strong chance at evening this series, he’s got to be as good in Game 4 as he was in Game 3. If he is, then maybe we can kind of put that storyline to rest.”
You can hear the entire interview with TSN Hockey insider Darren Dreger on the Fan Morning Show below.