by Jon Jordan on 04/18/11 at 02:58 PM ET
Checking in once again with FromThePoint.com’s Brian Metzer, with an eye on Pittsburgh adjustments leading into game two…
JJ: Let’s keep this pretty simple, B. Are there any major adjustments the Pens need to make as the series shifts to Tampa? Games one and two were such polar opposites for them, I would think it’s more of a matter of staying true to the approach that brought them such success in game one and throughout the regular season, rather than making any major alterations to either the lineup or the strategy.
BM: I completely agree with you there, JJ. It isn’t a matter of making major adjustments, so much as sticking with the game plan and system. The Penguins defense was horrendous during Game 2 and they need to refocus and get back to their basics – quick puck movement, good positional play and physicality.
This group feels that it is most effective when they are getting the puck up ice with lightning quick passes and hitting the opposing defense deep in their own zone to create turnovers. That didn’t happen very often on Friday night.
I would also expect them to make an effort to get shots off faster, though they are taking a ton, they have also had a ton blocked and or shot wide… 30 combined on Friday if I am not mistaken. They have got to do a better job of getting pucks to the net, especially on the power play.
Speaking of the power play, that is the one area in which I could see some adjustments made. Look for the Penguins to crash the net a bit more following shots from the points.
JJ: Speaking of major alterations, while it doesn’t look like we’ll get any surprise appearance from one Sidney Crosby for game three, should the Lightning prevail tonight, that would put the Pens in a 2-1 hole in the series and, as we talked about beforehand, maybe then the scenario of “needing” to fortify the lineup with Crosby’s presence would become reality. You still believe that, even as a remote possibility?
BM: I would like to be the guy to tell you that Crosby is just lying in wait to ride in on his stallion and save the day, however it seems that will be a very remote possibility. Though Crosby continues to work out with the team and seems to be living every aspect of his life concussion-free, he has yet to be cleared for contact. That fact alone makes the possibility of his making an appearance during this series very remote.
I, like most of the hockey world, am still sort of baffled by the fact that Crosby hasn’t taken the next step forward. Some folks still insist that there must have been something more to his injury considering that he has yet to take the next step in his recovery. I am not one of those folks, but I will say that it is a bit odd.
It is worth noting that Dan Bylsma was just asked a question about Crosby’s progress following the team’s morning skate in Tampa Bay… his answer via the team web site:
“His workout regiment and the one he’s gone through the last five days are all through the doctor. He’s been working out off the ice. That’s through communication with the doctor. There hasn’t been a change in his status.”
Thanks again to Metz for his continued insight. Look for my answers to his latest inquiries later on today and, again, tomorrow night, we’ll hit you with our (latest) best shot, in the form of a podcast, specific time TBA…
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