Penguins – Islanders Game 1 Buzz
Deja vu for Jack Johnson
The politics of having management influence lineup decisions like what played out to an extent this season for the Penguins is over as it’s now the postseason.
Game 1 of Penguins – Islanders will give a look of how Mike Sullivan and Co actually view their best group of six defensemen.
And Jack Johnson isn’t one of them, just as he wasn’t last spring in Columbus when the 2018 postseason got underway.
How did the Penguins get to this decision?
Sullivan has leaned heavily on top assistant Jacques Martin on which direction to go and as mentioned here yesterday, Martin has strongly pushed in meetings to keep the third pairing of Marcus Pettersson – Erik Gudbranson together, leaving Jack Johnson as the odd-man out.
A big point of emphasis among the staff in determining which d-man would sit was the Islanders forecheck.
Pittsburgh’s D-Pairs tonight will set up as:
DuMoulin – Letang
Maatta – Schultz
Pettersson – Gudbranson
The decision to scratch Johnson, which was believed to have been made on Monday afternoon (pending DuMoulin would be able to play) wasn’t made lightly as there was some support for him to stay in the lineup from others. The surprising part is who the discussions centered on beyond Johnson.
It was not Marcus Pettersson or Erik Gudbranson. It was Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"