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Insider Only Bylsma: Brooks Orpik, physicality set the tone

Bylsma Media Session

Presser Highlights: Pens head coach talks setting the tone from a physical standpoint, power play a momentum changer, D-gap control & Kovalev…….
The talk after the game centered around the Penguins wearing down the Tampa Bay Lightning in what was a very physical game.
To no surprise, it was Brooks Orpik who set the tone early on for the Penguins and Pittsburgh did an excellent job of picking their spots.
“Right off the hop, Brooks Orpik set the tone, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said.

“Certainly laid a big hit. I know we had a number of times first where we were physical throughout the game. They did come out and get 8 to 10 shots right off the hop. They did get some pucks to the net. Flower came up big there in the first ten minutes of the game but you could tell it was a playoff type of atmosphere, physicality was there, our guys did a good job of staying with {the} confines of playing defense and trying to deny them the net, which they do a good job of getting to.”
“Building was awesome, the atmosphere was playoffs for sure and our physicality, Brooks set the tone right off the hop, ” Bylsma said.
After a team has an 0-for-6 night on the power play, there are few instances where a coach would come out and say that the power play was a momentum changer in a good away.
Tonight was one of those nights as the Penguins did do some good things and according to Bylsma helped changed momentum.
“We did speak of a few things, most of it was our breakouts and retrievals which we thought we could do a little bit better but in the second period, especially in the third, our power play got momentum going our way and the building going, ” Bylsma said.
“In the second period they did a great job there. Had a lot of zone time there, they were hunting pucks, had a lot of really good looks at the net. I thought that was a building point for our team and the power play did that again in the third, with the 5-on-3, had a couple dangerous chances, carried that over and were effective for us.”
Brooks Orpik delivered a crushing hit on Steven Stamkos just minutes in the game and Stamkos was ineffective for much of the night.
Bylsma praised his team’s “gap” control which is an area the Penguins show a strong emphasis on.
“One thing our defense has been doing all year long in every situation, we try to maintain a good gap from our D, ” Bylsma said. “A lot of that is help from our forwards, good F3 tracking back and allows our D to have a good gap.”
Bylsma after the game appeared happy to see Alex Kovalev come up big for his hockey club. Kovalev is not a Dan Bylsma type of player by any means but Bylsma has been very patient with Kovalev and has bought into what Kovalev brings to this team.
“He’s always had the ability to be a factor in playoffs, been a playoff performer and you know it wasn’t too big of a surprise tonight to see him get that one opportunity in a very difficult situation…. great play by Paul Martin, that’s a tough goal to put on net and very little room and he gets that goal for us, first goal of the game, ” Bylsma said…. “There might have been a little smile on my face after seeing 72 with the goal.”

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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