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Insider Only Changes unlikely on the Penguins blueline for game 7

Dan Bylsma stressed today about the Penguins needing to have better puck management in game 7. That’s an area the Penguins need to improve on but what remains to be seen is if Bylsma will show an emphasis on trying to shutdown Mike Cammalleri who has six goals in the series.
The Penguins have opted not to match Brooks Orpik up against Cammalleri as there continues to be a thought around the team that the Penguins have a shutdown type of defenseman with every pair.
The problem is the Penguins don’t have that luxury and there needs to be more of an emphasis on containing Cammalleri.
The chances of the Penguins sitting Alex Goligoski or Jordan Leopold are slim and according to team sources there is believed to be no consideration of such a move.
Despite his defensive downfalls, Goligoski won’t sit under any situation due to his offensive abilities and with the team so high on Jordan Leopold, there is serious doubts that he would sit in place of McKee.
The Leopold-Goligoski has been very vulnerable the past two games and the two have just never fit well together due to their defensive styles.

Goligoski was beat badly out of the corner by Maxim Lapierre with a power move on the Canadiens 4th goal but Leopold was also at fault as he had his back to the play in front of the net and never turned off his man to confront Lapierre who came freely to the net.
I still have not understood all of the fuss about Leopold coming from high ranking officials, who just continue to praise his abilities as a player. He’s not a bad player by any means but he’s nothing more than a 5th or 6th defenseman.
Despite playing pretty well in place of Leopold during the playoffs, McKee has fallen out of good graces with the coaching staff because they have more of an emphasis on a defensemen’s ability to fit into the Penguins system from a breakout standpoint due to the Penguins emphasis on playing an uptempo game that lives off of a quick transition game.
The Penguins are 4-1 with McKee in the lineup
  • What to watch for in game 7 is how heavily Dan Bylsma leans on his star players. In game 6, Sidney Crosby had 26:10 of time and Sergei Gonchar had 25:12 of ice time.
  • However, Evgeni Malkin had 20:15 of ice time and just 14:12 of ice time at even strength which was 5:05 less than Sidney Crosby who led the Penguins with 19:17 of even strength time.
  • Pascal Dupuis in fact had more ice time at even strength than Malkin.
  • In a game 7, It’s a type of situation where Crosby and Malkin should be at least in the 23-25 minute range.
  • Another area that the Penguins coaching staff should explore is giving their top-2 defensive pairings heavy minutes, similar to how Jacques Martin’s uses his top-2 pairs.   
  • There has been mixed signs today on whether there will be any lineup changes tomorrow night up front. More on that in a late post.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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