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Inside Scoop: Patience, lineup and (lack of) memories

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' Tuesday afternoon practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex… 

* We've entered the postseason phase of injury and lineup updates. The team's policy at this time of year is that all players and lineups are game-time decisions. The same holds true for Brian Dumoulin (lower-body) and Zach Aston-Reese (lower-body)

Both players took part in full-contact practice for the second day in a row on Tuesday. It was another positive sign in their recovery from injury. Both guys are extremely competitive, and if there is any chance they have at playing you can bet they'll to be in the lineup. 

Dumoulin told the media on Monday that he was hoping to play in Game 1 on Wednesday night, but didn't want to rush back. He skated with Zach Trotman at practice during drills. Aston-Reese took the occasional shift on the fourth line during drills. 

* The key takeaway over the past two days from the locker room was "patience." The context was in terms of the Pens dealing with the NY Islanders defensive-minded structure. 

Sidney Crosby: "I think not forcing things. If there's a play to be made and make passes and make plays in the neutral zone then we have to make them. If they have numbers or make it difficult to get through there, then we can't force it and try to go 1-on-1 or try little plays through them, put (the puck) behind them and go to work there."

Kris Letang: "They defend really well, and they pay attention to details. I think we have to focus on the game and make sure we manage the puck the right way and take what they give us."

Jake Guentzel: "It's our puck management, I think that's the biggest thing for us. We can't feed into their transition and give them the opportunity to have a one."

Nick Bjugstad: "They're as advertised as a group that buys into the system and obviously don't give up a lot of goals so that means they're disciplined and they kinda capitalize on other team's turnovers. It's important for us to take care of the puck and know the style of game that they play."

Jack Johnson: "The teams that keep even keeled are usually the ones with most success. You can't get too high or too low."

Bottom line is the Isles are going to be stubborn, disciplined and clog up the neutral zone. The Pens have a checkered history against teams such as that (think the New Jersey Devils in their heyday). As much as the Pens preach being patient against such a structured team, it is imperative to their success in this series. 

* The Pens recalled goaltender Tristan Jarry from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Tuesday afternoon despite the fact that WBS still has three games remaining in the regular season and a chance (albeit extremely slim) of making the AHL playoffs. 

The move was made with "Pittsburgh in mind," per head coach Mike Sullivan. The team wanted to make sure there were enough healthy bodies at the NHL level. And considering that Matt Murray started in 20 of the last 21 regular-season games, it's not a bad idea to carry an extra netminder to help lessen his practice workload. 

* The Pens didn't have any changes as far as their workflow from Monday's practice…









If these hold for puck drop in Game 1, the Pens are trying split up their Big 3 (Crosby, Malkin, Kessel) to add a scoring threat and depth to their lines. 

* Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin are the only three remaining players left from the team that played the Islanders in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs. But if there are any takeaways from that series, don't expect Letang to remember them. 

"I remember we won. I'm getting old. I'm losing my memory," Letang joked. 

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