Game 2: Will Penguins make the obvious adjustments or stand pat?

Anything out of a coaches mouth should be taken for a grain of salt at playoff time but Mike Sullivan at least publicly on Sunday sounded like an head coach who was pretty pleased with his clubs’ performance in Game 1, a 3-2 overtime loss to the underdog Montreal Canadiens.

Multiple sources close to the situation say what Sullivan put out to the media on Sunday has also been the general feeling inside the room since Game 1’s OT loss.

As expected, there will be no changes in goal tonight for Game 2. Matt Murray was always going to have least a two game window and word in the organization is the coaches feel Murray is on the cusp of finding his game as the coaches have been very encouraged with the strides Murray’s taken from the exhibition game vs the Flyers to Game 1.

The bigger question entering Game 2 was going to be what line changes and or personnel changes are made, if any at all.

The Penguins have a faster lineup than Montreal, but it’s more of a group that is quicker with the puck on their stick than it is without the puck. This group still doesn’t play with the speedy puck pursuit game in all three zones that made then so hard to beat four out of seven games during the back-to-back title runs.

One former NHL assistant coach [hide] who watched the game from afar like many of us, told me Sunday that caught his attention the most. Pittsburgh is on a different level [than Montreal] from a speed aspect when they’re possessing the puck and attacking through the neutral zone, but Montreal after the first period was able to ‘system it up’ similar to what the Islanders did to the Penguins last spring. The Habs were the faster/more efficient team in pursuing the puck, just making it hard on the Penguins to get to those high danger areas and the Canadiens did an effective job in countering the Penguins in transition because of it.

This is why a lineup change to inserting Sam Lafferty who had a great camp or Evan Rodriguez has been seen as an obvious move to make in punching back with some young legs who can track the puck with more explosiveness.

Whether the coaching staff is ready to go there remains to be seen. Many will bring up Patrick Marleau whose now nine game sample with the Penguins has been very poor as Marleau would be the ideal option to get some younger legs in there. Would the Penguins go this route after one game? Word yesterday is that it would be a surprise to many inside the organization. [/hide]


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