THURSDAY’S POST-PRACTICE BUZZ
Updated – 2:00 p.m.
Last night in his post-game press conference, head coach Dan Bylsma showed clear frustrations with the Penguins regarding their struggles to setup the power play in their 4-3 Game 1 loss. “I think we didn’t do much of a power play in zone and didn’t have much in zone time, ” Bylsma said on the power play. “It was more off the rush and we didn’t have the opportunity in the zone like we wanted to and i think that was a factor in all three power plays.”
The Penguins struggles with establishing an in-zone presence saw a lot of experimenting today from head coach Dan Bylsma with his top unit.
One personnel change that will happen is Steve Sullivan working the point in Game 2 and acting as the primary puck carrier. With Sullivan expected back on the top unit Friday night, Bylsma appears to be leaning into two directions of who comes off the top unit.
Always subject to change by tomorrow, but based on today’s practice, Bylsma appears to be considering the possibility of taking Sidney Crosby or James Neal off the top unit.
The four main fixtures on the top unit today was Steve Sullivan – Kris Letang at the points with Evgeni Malkin at the half wall and Chris Kunitz as a front-net presence.
That led to Crosby and Neal rotating on the top-line with Crosby seeing time with the second unit, that also included working the point with Paul Martin.
With egos at play, will Bylsma really take Crosby off the top unit in what would limit his power play time and in a sense go with two No. 1 power play units? We’ll get a better indication at tomorrow’s morning skate.
Taking Neal off the top unit would be removing the power play leader in goals. Tough decision coming for Bylsma but with Pittsburgh’s struggles to establish a zone presence, Sullivan will be back at the point, which had players in the locker room today strongly hinting that two units is the plan.
“We want to try to use maybe two units that can play a minute, ” defenseman Kris Letang said.