Series Tied, 2-2
Morning notes as both teams prepare for game 5
* Pavel Datsyuk participated in the Red Wings morning skate and as expected he will play wing tonight. Datsyuk has missed 7 consecutive games with a small fracture in his foot.
Datsyuk’s lateral movement has looked much better than it did a few days ago. Datsyuk will replace Ville Leino in the lineup.
With winger Dan Cleary ( Groin, GTD) missing the morning skate, the lines for tonight are unknown but it is expected that Datsyuk will play with Marian Hossa and Valtteri Filppula.
Babcock will also likely use Zetterberg and Datsyuk together at times. Datsyuk is not 100% but he gives the Red Wings a much needed boost and options.
The Red Wings remain banged up with a number of injuries. Brian Rafalski remains bothered by a right shoulder injury and did not skate this morning. Rafalski like Cleary is expected to play.
Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock added “Cleary and Raf didn’t skate, both are supposed to play. Justin Abdelkader had a bit of the flu, so I think those guys are all available here for tonight. And we’ll make decisions at game time.”
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has lost 5-7 pounds since he had a procedure done during the Chicago series.
Tomas Holmstrom remains bothered with a back injury and Pittsburgh has been able to neutralize him. This has played a factor in the Penguins success on the PK compared to last year.
Datsyuk’s presence tonight will be felt on the power play.
Marian Hossa is scoreless in 17 of 20 games and he is not driving to the net enough. Hossa’s lack of production is helping Pittsburgh possibly claim their first Stanley Cup Title since 1992.
Pittsburgh Penguins Morning Skate News & Notes
No injury news from the Penguins morning skate, all players were accounted for.
* Philippe Boucher was among one of the last players on the ice, indicating he will be scratched for the 4th consecutive game. It appears Bylsma will be sticking with his winning lineup tonight.
There’s a strong vibe around the room that the Penguins believe they have finally got to goaltender Chris Osgood. The players also feel the Red Wings are a bit rattled but Pittsburgh expects Detroit to regroup and tonight will be a challenge for the Penguins.
Sidney Crosby talked after the morning skate that he needs to bury some of the chances he is getting. Crosby had his best game of the series Thursday night and looks determined to build off of that performance.
*Dan Bylsma made a few much needed adjustments after game 2. The Penguins were too conservative in Detroit and went back to an aggressive approach in games 3 and 4.
Hopefully Bylsma has learned his lesson from game 2 and won’t let the Zetterberg – Crosby matchup get into his head as the series shifts back to Detroit tonight.