SENS ROUND UP
Here is today's playoff update from yours truly...
SOUND HEARD AROUND THE ROOM
THEY SAID IT
Quotes out of the Penguins locker room...
--Michelle Crechiolo & Sam Kasan
Letang with the tongue curl
I see a 'stache peaking out from that jaw protector
Kunitz fires on goal
Malkin and Dupuis show off their playoff beards (or lack thereof in Malkin's case)
Crosby and Bortuzzo share a laugh as the media lurks behind. PensTV represented!!
Neal battles low in the crease for a puck
And finally check out the smiles on Iginla and Crankshaft. I really wish I knew what they were laughing about. In my head it's the greatest joke ever told.
--Sam Kasan & Wes Crosby
POWER PLAY TWEAK
Some pretty interesting looks from the Pens' power-play units today.
The Pens typically use the following set up for the top PP unit:
Letang and Iginla on points. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz down low. Then Neal would swap with Kunitz.
The Pens are still starting with the Letang, Iginla, Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz set. However, it looks like Kunitz will stay out with the top unit no matter what. Neal is now swapping with Iginla, but when Neal enters the fray the five-men shift with Malkin moving to point in Iginla's spot.
So when Neal gets on the ice with the top unit you'll likely see the following set up:
Letang and Malkin on the points. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz down low.
Michelle spoke with Letang after practice about the tweaks, and he said they are nothing significant; they are basically just testing out different looks based on how the Senators kill penalties to have different options in the game.
"It all depends on the game, the way that the PK kills," he explained. "If they allowed us to have a high F3 and being able to shoot from the slot, we’ll put some guys (there). But there’s not a big adjustment. Everybody is in the same spot. We try to support everybody on the ice and make sure we don’t get caught."
The Penguins have so many capable personnel of filling different positions on the power play, and days like today are when everybody can get in there and get some practice.
"Iggy is a righty and Nealer is a lefty," he said. "They’re both shooters. Kuni is really good in front. We have different players for different things. You just have to practice different looks."
The Pens had perfect attendance for practice at CONSOL Energy Center. Looks like they're reuniting the Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis combo (AKA the best line in the NHL this season). Here's how things shook out...
PK ALL DAY
The Penguins’ mindset when it comes to killing penalties is pretty simple.
“For us, it’s all about the next kill and the next time over the boards,” head coach Dan Bylsma said.
But for now, let’s take a look at the last time over the boards. Or in this case, the last 25 times over the boards – which is the number of times the Penguins have been shorthanded during their seven postseason games.
Pittsburgh has surrendered just two power-play goals over that span for a 92-percent success rate. That’s an impressive accomplishment considering that their opening-round opponent – the NY Islanders – had the 10th (tied) ranked power play in the NHL during the season.
Full story here.
START ME UP
Good morning Pens fans! The Pens hit the ice at 11 a.m. for practice at CONSOL Energy Center. The Sens will be on a bit after them. Since Wednesday's practice was an optional, we expect full participation today. Make sure you stick around for the latest news and updates...
We're going to go back to high school today with a jam from Jimmy Eat World to start the day. Here is their song "Sweetness." The video is pretty cool. It shows the progression of the band - from garage practice and recording on a tape deck to playing shows to big concerts to recording in a studio and all the way back to that garage and tape deck. I'm not sure if the band's commercial success is a dream and they're in the garage all along, or if it is their way of saying that despite their success (they blew up and were huge at the time) they still remember their roots.
But, whatever. Still and great song. Enjoy.