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Insider Only Post-Morning Skate Buzz: The challenge of the Penguins matching up against Bruins style of play

What you heard out of the Penguins locker room this morning when describing the Bruins is “structure”.
“Very structurally sound,” head coach Dan Bylsma said of the Bruins. “Really good team, balanced throughout their lineup. In addition to that have the best penalty kill in the league,” Bylsma said.
As no one has been able to slow down the Penguins offensively of late, Bylsma has been looking forward to the challenge of playing a defensive stout team of the Bruins caliber.
“I like the challenge,” Bylsma said. “Have been thinking about that heading into this game. Playing a real structured team that has not allowed a lot of goals. Anticipating this being more type of {defensive} game and one I think we want to play against this team. We’ve been playing much better away from the puck.”
The Penguins will be looking to make the Bruins play fast, similar to what they’ve done to the Rangers this season in two games.
“We have our hands full,” center Joe Vitale said. “Skilled team, good combination of skill, toughness. We need to play North,” Vitale said. “Try to frustrate them by trying to make them play in their own end.”

Defenseman Kris Letang was also among the Penguins players to praise the Bruins structure game this morning.
“Lot of skill upfront, really patient and they play good structure,” Letang said. “We’re excited to play them, really tough team”.
In the eyes of many, the Penguins and Bruins have emerged as the top two Cup contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik was asked about that.
“Hopefully at the end of the year we will be,” Orpik said. “That’s for people to decide.”

One thing you hear about the Penguins is that they feel when Evgeni Malkin is fully healthy, the Bruins No. 2 and No. 3 pairs could be exploited as Zdeno Chara can’t matchup against both Malkin and Crosby.
Crosby figures to get a heavy dose of Chara tonight.
“They will work hard to get Chara in the matchup they want,” Bylsma said. “Sure we will see that tonight.” Against Chara, Bylsma wants the Penguins to be in on the forecheck. “Want to be in on the forecheck and offensive zone. Great defender and big body,” Bylsma said.

One player to watch tonight is Beau Bennett whose play is elevating on a game by game basis. Although Bennett has a teenager body, he’s been fine physically so far and Bennett matching up against the Bruins big defenders will be intriguing to watch.
“Getting stronger last five games,” Bylsma said of Bennett. “Playing real comfortable, real safe. Being more comfortable with the puck and seeing that from him. Getting better and better.”
“Tonight is great challenge,” Bylsma said. “Seeing bigger group of physical defenseman. Another challenge for him but he’s continued to get better.”

Lineup Buzz

Bylsma said today that Deryk Engelland didn’t come out of the lineup Sunday night because of poor play and even hinted at using seven defensemen at somepoint this season.
Be surprised if that happened tonight but you never know.
Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal. There is no word from the Bruins on who will start in goal. Head coach Claude Jullien doesn’t speak to the media till 6:20 p.m.
Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin skated on his own today which is promising. Malkin won’t play tonight.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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