Allegheny County and the Downtown Pittsburgh Partners will host a Pittsburgh Penguins playoff rally on Friday at 4:45 p.m. in Market Square in honor of the second round playoff series against the New York Rangers.
Musical groups, The Jimmy Adler Band and Kardaz, known for their local sports anthems, will perform and Penguins mascot, Iceburgh, will be on hand to greet fans. For more information about the rally, please visit the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Web site at www.downtownpittsburgh.com and click on the box with the Penguins logo.
ROBERTS OUT OF LINEUP
Gary Roberts will not dress for the Penguins’ game Friday night.
Roberts practiced hard the past two days, but decided his sore groin was not healthy enough to warrant a return to the lineup.
“It’s Gary’s call,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “We’re disappointed that he’s not ready to play, but we have to respect his decision. If he feels like he is not 100 percent, he is not going to play. That’s what he told us. On the other hand, I thought we responded really well when he wasn’t there for Game 3 and 4 in Ottawa. Adam Hall did a good job. It’s not new for us. We’ve been facing adversity since the beginning of the year. We prepare for that.”
NEW D PAIRINGS
The Penguins’ defense will have a different look Friday night. The top unit of Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik will remain intact, but the second unit will feature Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi, while Ryan Whitney and Kris Letang will comprise the third defensive pairing.
“We need to make some adjustment because we are playing the Rangers. That’s part of getting prepared. Obviously, we like Orpik and Gonchar. They have played well together as the top defensive unit,” Therrien said. “They put three lines on the ice that are really effective offensively. We have to make sure our defensive game is on the top of its game because this is a team that doesn’t allow a lot of goals or scoring chances. They commit to defense. We have to match their intensity about playing defensive hockey.
“Scuderi and Gill played together. We made some adjustments during the season and there is a reason for that. Guys are used to playing with each other. We like stability, there is no doubt. We do have stability with our lines for 90 percent of the time,” he continued. “But, when there’s time to make an adjustment, we have to make those adjustments. That’s part of coaching. We are comfortable with the decision and there’s reason. We strongly believe it’s a good adjustment that needs to be made to play the Rangers.”