Some Pre-Morning Skate Tidbits
*Penguins take the ice this morning at 11:30 a.m. The buzz right now is Eric Tangradi will replace Chris Kunitz in the lineup tonight but nothing definite at this point.
Comrie is next up on the depth chart but Tangradi gives the Penguins more versatility with their lineup.
*The Penguins vaunted penalty kill unit has had few answers for the Lightning, most notably Marty St. Louis who has 3 power play goals in the series.
The Lightning are 4-for-11 on the power play in the series.
In the post-season, Penguins struggles on the PK date back to the 2010 playoffs. Since the 2010 post-season, Pittsburgh has given up 16 power play goals on 54 chances, a span of 16 post-season games. Pittsburgh is 63.1% on the PK in their first round series with Tampa.
*An under-rated part of the Penguins play through three games has been their ability in the faceoff circle, most notably Mark Letestu, Craig Adams, and Max Talbot.
Craig Adams (56.5%; 13-for-23)….
Mark Letestu (55.0%; 22-for-40); Maxime Talbot (54.4%; 25-for-46).
Jordan Staal is the only Penguin center under 50 percent but has been very strong on draws in the offensive zone. Staal won a key offensive zone draw leading to Tyler Kennedy’s game winning goal and won 6 of 7 offensive zone draws in Game 1.
*Steven Stamkos picked up his play in Game 3 and showed some encouraging signs for Lightning fans that he might be close to breaking out. It will be interesting to see if he builds off of his better play in Game 3.
The Penguins have held Stamkos to just one secondary assist and 5 shots on goal. He’s Tampa’s X-factor tonight and a key to them tying the series up at 2-2.
*Head coach Dan Bylsma has established a franchise postseason record with 25 career wins and Bylsma enters tonight’s game with the second-highest postseason winning percentage among active coaches in the postseason behind Detroit’s Mike Babcock (.629).
Babcock (66 – 39, .629 | Bylsma (25 – 15, .625)
*Ryan Malone’s availability is said to be in question for tonight. He is not participating in Tampa’s morning skate and has been bothered by a shoulder and groin injury.