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Insider Only Off-day notes: Montreal forcing a Game 7 is the buzz of the Penguins locker room

*With Boston eliminating Buffalo last night, the Penguins can now only face either Montreal or Boston in the next round. Should Washington beat Montreal in Game 7 of that series, the Capitals will play the Flyers in a best of seven Eastern Conference semi final; thus giving the Penguins a match-up against the Bruins.
If Montreal pulls off the upset, the Canadiens would face off against the Pens and the Flyers would battle the Bruins. In that scenario, the fourth seeded Penguins would be the highest remaining team in the East and would have home ice advantage for at least the next two rounds.
*Chris Kunitz did not skate today. Coach Dan Byslma gave him the day off. He says Kunitz was “suffering some lingering effects from a long and physical series.”
*Neither Tyler Kennedy nor Jordan Leopold skated with the team again today.
*If Leopold remains out for the next series, expect plenty more of Jay McKee. Bylsma complimented McKee’s sense of calm and his passing to defensive teammates during the Ottawa series.
*If Kennedy continues to miss time, Chris Conner is still practicing with the big club. The Wilkes-Barre Scranton call up earned high praise from Bylsma for how he handled himself along the boards during the AHL playoffs against bigger defensemen.
That was the main reason for his re-call against the Senators’ large defensive corps. And with players such as Zdeno Chara and Hal Gill looming as potential opponents next round, Conner may find himself dressed again in the Eastern Conference semi finals

*Most of the buzz in the locker room today was about Montreal forcing a Game 7 against Washington. Matt Cooke says Montreal deserves credit for its ability to frustrate the Washington skill players. He also said denying those players time and space in the offensive zone has been key to extending the series.
*There is a graduation ceremony at Mellon Arena on Saturday. So if Pittsburgh hosts Boston in Games 1 & 2 of round two, it is expected that the series will start on Friday with Game 2 occurring perhaps on Sunday afternoon. If The Penguins end up facing Montreal, the Canadiens will either have to play here on Friday after a Game 7 road win in Washington. Or the start of that series may be delayed until Sunday.

About The Author

Tim Benz

TIOPS Columnist

Tim Benz can be heard on the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network post game show and M-F 10-1 on TribLive Radio

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