The Penguins held an optional practice at Nationwide Arena Tuesday afternoon. Fifteen players took part, including injured forwards Marcel Goc (foot) and Brian Gibbons (undisclosed).
“You saw some of our injured players skating with the group today,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “Both Marcel Goc and Brian Gibbons, no update on their status.”
Gibbons, who was injured in the first period of Game 2 after scoring a pair of goals, took part in practice with his teammates for the second straight day. But he is still listed as day-to-day.
“There’s no timetable right now,” Gibbons said. “I just went out and got a skate. It felt good to skate. That’s all I know.”
One thing is for sure: when Gibbons is healthy and ready to return the Penguins will put him back in the lineup.
“When he gets healthy we’ll try to find spot for him in there,” Bylsma said with a smile.
The other players that practiced were forwards Jayson Megna, Craig Adams, Taylor Pyatt, Chris Conner, Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale and Lee Stempniak, defensemen Olli Maatta, Deryk Engelland, Rob Scuderi and Robert Bortuzzo and goalies Jeff Zatkoff and Tomas Vokoun.
NET-FRONT The Penguins are known for their star talent and flashy play with gifted athletes like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.
But three of the team’s four goals in their 4-3 Game 3 victory Monday night in Columbus weren’t the beautiful tic-tac-toe style the Penguins are capable of. Brooks Orpik, Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen all scored with one thing in common: having a presence in the crease.
“I don’t think we can expect it to be an easy goal, a flash goal or a 2-on-1, odd-man opportunity. It’s going to be dirty and ugly,” Bylsma said. “That’s where we gotta go and that’s where we have to get them from. That’s regardless of if it’s Brandon Sutter scoring at the net or Crosby at the net.”
The Penguins have made it a point of emphasis against this team especially to have players crashing the crease looking for tips, screens or rebounds.
“It’s something we talk about a lot,” Lee Stempniak said. “(Sergei) Bobrovsky is a good goalie. He won the Vezina last year (as best NHL goalie). He’s really talented. If you can make it difficult by crowding the net, trying to keep him in the crease and limit his ability to cut down the angles, it makes it easier. Loose pucks are going to be there and that’s where a lot of goals are scored in the playoffs. It’s been a talking point for us to make sure we’re paying the price.”
MEGNA DEBUTS Rookie forward Jayson Megna played in his first career NHL playoff game in Game 3 against Columbus. He saw 8:27 minutes of ice time and registered two hits and a blocked shot.
“That was as crazy of a game I’ve ever been in for the first five minutes,” Megna said. “After that we started playing the right way. I settled down. I think I played better as the game went on. I still had a little nerves, but I felt more comfortable.
“There are a lot of things that I need to work on and do better next game. I thought it was a good game to build off of.”