PENGUINS CLOSE OUT ABILITY AT HOME UNDER BYLSMA
Under head coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins are 0-6 at home when they have a chance to close out a series and the last time the Penguins were up 3-1 in a series under Bylsma with home-ice advantage was in the first round of the 2011 playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Pittsburgh blew a 3-1 series lead, losing to the Lightning 8-2 in Game 5, 4-2 in Game 6 and losing 1-0 in Game 7 on home-ice.
It’s hard to see that type of scenario (Penguins blowing a 3-1 series lead) emerging again for the Penguins as Ottawa just doesn’t have the scoring to compete.
As Bylsma indicated today, there’s no parallels between this group and the Penguins team in 2011 that was a totally different team personnel wise and playing a much different type of team than they are now.
“We’ve got a totally different situation with a different team,” Bylsma said today. “I don’t draw parallels between this group and that group.”
If the Senators are to force a Game 6, they have to tighten things up significantly defensively. Craig Anderson has had his poor games in this series but odd-man rushes Ottawa has given up is too much to handle for just about any goaltender.
Ottawa has to hope for a low scoring game tonight.
PENGUINS – SENATORS LINEUP BUZZ
The Penguins this morning ran the same four lines and d-pairs as Game 4:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
James Iginla – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Matt Cooke – Brandon Sutter – Tyler Kennedy
Beau Bennett – Jussi Jokinen – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Mark Eaton – Kris Letang
Douglas Murray – Matt Niskanen
Despite things being status quo with the top-4 lines and d-pairs, we might see one change upfront tonight.
Brenden Morrow who is dealing with a minor shoulder injury, skated this morning and is under consideration to play over Beau Bennett tonight. While Morrow didn’t take any regular line rushes, Morrow did work on the second power play unit, while Bennett saw zero power play time this morning.
“I felt good this morning, ” Morrow said. “It will be a game time decision and we’ll go from there on how it feels this afternoon.”
Meanwhile for the Senators tonight, head coach Paul MacLean will load up a top line of Milan Michalek – Jason Spezza – Daniel Alfredsson in a must-win situation.