PITTSBURGH -- After the Pittsburgh Penguins were outscored, 9-1, by the Boston Bruins in losing the first two games of Eastern Conference Final at home, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wasn't going to stand pat when it comes to personnel.
"There's going to be some changes to our lineup and some of our [line combinations]," Bylsma said after practice Tuesday at Consol Energy Center.
A virtual must-win Game 3 is Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
"We have to, as a group and as lines and as D pairings, get back to playing our game," Bylsma said. "We have to get back to playing good defensive hockey, we have to get back to playing well away from the puck -- and that's got to happen throughout our lineup. And I think you'll see some changes in our lines and a few guys being added to the lineup to do so."
Possibilities of players who were scratched during Game 2 on Monday who could be in uniform for Game 3 include forwards Tyler Kennedy, Beau Bennett and Tanner Glass, and defensemen Simon Despres and Mark Eaton.
Eaton and Kennedy appeared in Saturday's 3-0 Game 1 loss; the other three have yet to appear in the series. Long shots for inclusion in the Game 3 lineup are forward Dustin Jeffrey and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who combined to appear in more than half the Penguins' games during the regular season but have yet to dress for a game during these Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Of the possibilities for additions to the lineup, talented rookies Bennett and Despres are the most intriguing. Each was a recent first-round pick whom management is high on with hopes of a bright future. Each is 21 years old, and they combine for 77 regular-season and 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games of experience.
Kennedy and Glass were regulars all season but lost their jobs in the playoffs. Signed after the season began, the Penguins went on a 15-game winning streak as soon as Eaton was inserted into the lineup. Eaton played in 13 of those games and 23 overall for Pittsburgh during the regular season. He's been scratched for five of the team's 13 playoff games.
Bylsma, at times during this postseason, has displayed a magic touch when it comes to shuffling players in and out of the lineup. He turned to Kennedy, Vitale and Despres after the New York Islanders won Game 4 of the first round -- Pittsburgh responded by winning four in a row. Bennett and Jokinen were inserted after a Game 3 loss to the Ottawa Senators in the conference semifinals; a 7-3 victory ensued.
|Back to top|