Penguins not looking ahead as they look to close out the series tonight

 

Pittsburgh leads series, 3-0 The Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins each went through their final preparations this morning for game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Pittsburgh was loose and looked like a team that is up 3-0 in a series. Based on what we’re hearing and the rotation of seven defensemen during the morning skate, Philippe Boucher will be in the lineup tonight and the Penguins will dress seven defensemen for the seventh consecutive game. Pittsburgh has won 5 of six games when dressing seven defensemen in the playoffs. If Pittsburgh wins tonight they will become the first team since the 1984 Edmonton Oilers to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, the year after losing in the finals. Carolina forwards Scott Walker, Erik Cole and Tuomo Ruutu missed practice on Monday but all three forwards skated during the teams morning skate and will play tonight. Winning that fourth andRead More »

Off Day Report: Penguins hold optional skate

 

The Penguins held an optional skate this morning, coming off of their 3-2 OT win in Game 3. The Penguins avoided going down 3-0 and played their best game of the series and momentum could slightly be turning towards Pittsburgh. Following last night’s game, the line change of bumping up Max Talbot to the second line has been attributed to sparking Evgeni Malkin’s dominant game 3 performance. Talbot provided energy, and a physical presence in the corners which Malkin has lacked on his right side with Petr Sykora. Dan Bylsma has no plans to switch that line in game 4. “He has an energy and a physical presence on the offense and a forechecking presence and puck-retrieving presence that adds something to that line,” Bylsma said in his post-game comments on what Talbot adds to Malkin’s line. Only a handful of players skated this morning. Eric Godard, Philippe Boucher, PetrRead More »

Off-Day Report

 

As the Penguins play the waiting game, the team did not skate today and went through dry land activities. The team will go through a full practice on Wednesday and the second round of the playoffs will begin on Thursday or Friday. The big news from Mellon Arena today was the players being informed that the interim tag from Dan Bylsma’s title has been removed. The Penguins, Bylsma did agree to a three year deal. The players have been pushing for Bylsma to be named permanent head coach and the timing of the announcement is not surprising. There will be a lot of

Bylsma agrees to three year deal as Head Coach

 

Executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero announced this morning prior to the Penguins practice, that the Pittsburgh Penguins have removed the “interim” tag from Dan Bylsma’s title and formally named him head coach on Tuesday. The two sides agreed to a three year deal. “Dan has done such an impressive job with our team, both on and off the ice, that we didn’t see the need to wait any longer to announce our decision,” said Ray Shero, the Penguins’ executive vice president and general manager. “He is the man we want to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins as our head coach.”

Flyers have been the better team of late, odds favor Penguins

 

The Philadelphia Flyers came into Mellon Arena and had a much different result than they had last year in game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were eliminated after an embarrassing 6-0 loss. This time around, the Flyers avoided elimination getting a strong performance from Martin Biron, defeating the Penguins 3-0 Thursday night to force a Game 6 “We knew they would come out and play a great game tonight and they did,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “They pushed it to a Game 6 and its back to their building. We have the knowledge that we’ve won in that building the last time we were there.” The Flyers are a very confident team as they have been the better team since game 3. Some NHL pundits even make the argument the Flyers have been the better team since the second period of game 2. While the FlyersRead More »

Boucher was inserted in the lineup to spark the Penguins lackluster power play

 

Many NHL pundits will not question the decision by Dan Bylsma to scratch winger Petr Sykora as it was time to send a message that if you don‚Äôt produce, you will sit, but Bylsma will be questioned for scratching Kris Letang. Letang suffered a lower leg injury in game 4 but was healthy enough to play in game 5. Letang skated in the morning skate and during the pregame warm-ups. Letang’s minor injury had no bearing into Bylsma‚Äôs decision as it was strictly on the motive to get Philippe Boucher in the lineup to spark the Penguins slumping power play. Letang‚Äôs performance has not been up to par the past couple games but by taking him out of the lineup, you are losing one of your top puck moving defenseman. In Game 5, the Penguins struggled creating offense on their breakout and clearly missed Kris Letang in their transition game.Read More »

How will Dan Bylsma react to slumping veterans?

 

Dan Bylsma has pushed all the right buttons in his short time as interim coach with the Penguins, posting a 20-4-4 record in 28 games at the helm. What remains to be seen is how Bylsma reacts to slumping veterans. Bylsma has one on his hands in Petr Sykora who is in the midst of a slump dating back to February 6th, where he has only 6 points in his last 28 games. Sykora is not the type of player like a Bill Guerin who can impact a game, even if he’s not scoring. He doesn’t win battles in corners or provide a physical presence in front of the net. Is the notion true that Bylsma is becoming too player friendly? There was a media frenzy around Sykora over the weekend and it wasn’t

Morning Practice Notes: Satan skating with second line

 

The Penguins just wrapped up their morning practice at Mellon Arena which began around 10:30 a.m. Very interesting line changes in today’s practice Miroslav Satan skated with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora on the second line, alternating with Ruslan Fedotenko. Satan, Fedotenko and Sykora alternated on Malkin’s wing throughout the practice. Yesterday, Satan was on the annual 5th playoff line and even took a shift or two on D as a fill in. As I mentioned on Friday, Bylsma wants to give him a look in a top 6 role. Bylsma just experimenting? The rest of the lines were

In battle for #4 spot in the East, Flyers defeat Penguins 3-1

 

In a battle for the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Flyers (39-22-10) took great strides to locking up the #4 seed in the East, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins (39-27-8) 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Mellon Arena. It was a game of special teams as Simon Gagne and Scott Hartnell each scored a power play goal for the Fylers who now move two points ahead of the Penguins in standings. Pittsburgh who has a league high 11 comebacks when trailing after the second period, got on the score sheet at 10:02 of the third period when Kris Letang (8) (Power play) beat goaltender Marty Biron low blocker side to cut the Flyers lead to one. Sidney Crosby (95 pts) and Evgeni Malkin (105 pts) assisted on Letang’s third period tally. Pittsburgh‚Äôs comeback ended with 28 seconds remaining in the third period when Darroll Powe (5) scored a empty netRead More »