Line change, again --
Despite watching his revamped third line produce both of his team's goals in the third period Thursday night, Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien
said he wouldn't keep it together for the start of Game 5 on Sunday.
Instead, Maxime Talbot
is expected to return to the fourth line, while Jarkko Ruutu
should be back on the left wing alongside center Jordan Staal
and right wing Tyler Kennedy
on the third line.
"We're going to come back with the same recipe that we had success so far," Therrien said Friday. "That means we're going to try to rotate four lines and try to get the lead early to get the pressure on them and concentrate on the way we're supposed to play. That's not something that I'm planning to do right from the start with Staal and Kennedy, because I like Maxime as a centerman and I like to rotate four lines to the majority of the game."
Therrien switched Talbot and Ruutu on the fly in the third period of Game 4 when the Penguins were trailing 3-0. Staal wound up scoring twice, with Kennedy and Talbot getting assists on both goals.
"We take a lot of pride in playing well defensively," Therrien said. "We take a lot of pride in trying to get the lead and we can concentrate really well about checking. Obviously when you're trailing by three goals, you know the game's not about playing a great checking game. You've got to go to plan B and try to open up the game and try to get some offense from different lines."
Home sweet home --
The Penguins certainly are happy to have Game 5 back in their barn.
The Pens haven't lost in regulation at Mellon Arena since Feb. 13, when the Boston Bruins
beat them 2-1. They are 7-0 at home in the postseason, 15-0 including their last eight regular-season games and are unbeaten in regulation in their last 18.
"We feed off the crowd," Therrien said of his team's success in the building once known as the Igloo. "We have a great crowd. It's demanding to win on the road because the crowds are into it and the team is playing for a purpose. The crowd gives us emotion. We're a young team that will feed off of those emotions. We have the confidence that we could accomplish good things. We have our routine. There are a lot of factors."
The Flyers are 1-5 at Mellon Arena this season, but the Penguins have won the last five games after losing 3-1 to Philadelphia on Nov. 7. They've outscored the Flyers 24-13 in their six meetings in Pittsburgh.
Day off --
Therrien gave his team a full day off Friday. They didn't even have to show up at the rink.
He said the day away should be good for his team.
"I think it's important to get rested physically and mentally," he said. "These are demanding games. Tomorrow they'll come in in a good frame of mind. We'll be positive with our team just to make sure we're back to doing the right things. There's no doubt in the first period (in Game 4) we took some penalties and the special teams were not sharp. There were a lot of things in our game that weren't sharp. When they scored those two quick goals we lost total focus and you can't afford to lose your focus in the playoffs. After that we picked up our game and started controlling the game. We have to keep our focus for 60 minutes if we want to have success."
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