Most coaches don’t like to mess with their lineup coming off a win but the Penguins coaching staff has wanted to get rookie Scott Wilson into the lineup and that is likely to happen tonight in Game 3.
Beau Bennett came into the series on a short leash and played just eight shifts vs the Rangers in Game 2, barely seeing the ice in the final thirty minutes of the game.
Sources say the thinking process of a potential change is that Wilson’s the type of energy player who will give you more if he’s only playing six to eight minutes.
Due to the energy he plays with to go with a combination of skill/grit, the Penguins believe Wilson’s the type of young player who could come in and provide momentum swings with a key shift or two.
When it comes to Bennett, who struggles to be much of a factor in close checking games, he’s looked at as a player who needs regular shifts and just isn’t the type of player who can hit the ice every ten minutes and give you much of anything.
Johnston after the morning skate indicated lineup changes were a possibility.
“We haven’t set our lineup for sure for tonight,” Johnston said.
Nothing is set in stone but Wilson was told this morning to be prepared to play tonight.
— For the New York Rangers, there was some chatter on Sunday that James Sheppard could draw in for Tanner Glass but that won’t be the case tonight. No changes upfront but the Rangers might mess with some of their line combinations. Defenseman Keith Yandle missed the morning skate due to an illness but will play, Alain Vigneault said.
— On the injury front, Kevin Klein and Derrick Pouliot are both getting close to returning to the lineup for their respective teams. It will be a surprise if Pouliot isn’t in the lineup by Game 4. The sense on Klein is that he’s more likely to return in Game 5 then Game 4 at this point. The same can’t be said for Christian Ehrhoff who’s likely done for the season. Ehrhoff is no longer skating for now.
“”He just hasn’t been progressing, so that’s a step that’s been taken,” Johnston said, indicating Ehrhoff’s progress has “flat lined”.
— The Penguins are a team that is suddenly confident offensively after scoring four goals in game 2. The players inside the room believe they set the stage for Game 2’s breakthrough by being aggressive in the front of the net and getting second, third chance opportunities in the latter part of Game 1.
“For us just about getting pucks to the net, shooting and getting rebound goals like last game,” Brandon Sutter said on the Penguins keeping their game simple.
“Making sure we get those second, third chance opportunities,” Sidney Crosby said.
— Crosby on playing with Chris Kunitz again: “It helps when you’re comfortable with guys.”