It’s A Hockey Night In Pittsburgh, Take Two!

April 11, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate as Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) reacts during the overtime period in game one of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Philadelphia Flyers won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Penguins need to go back to the Drawing Board to win tonight and even things up.      They absolutely can not go down 2-0 to the Flyers, and to make sure it does not happen, some changes have been made.

First off, they made some changes to the Power Play unit.     They put Steve Sullivan, who has been running the point all season, back at the point.    He was taken off when Sidney Crosby came back and the power play has really not been as effective.      That is certainly not to say that Sid is the problem because he isn’t.     But the unit that has played all season together and done extremely well, was changed when Sid came back.      It is a difficult call here, but  they still have Sid on the line.     Here was the set up today at the optional skate.

Sullivan, Letang, Malkin, Kunitz were together with  Neal and Crosby  rotating.   To see a number one  power play unit without Crosby on line would be astounding, but for this year and how the year set up with the loss of Crosby for most of the season, it almost makes sense for him to take a back seat on this.      It shows what a team player he is to take a step back when asked to do so.

Here are the other lines that we should expect to see.

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Sullivan-Crosby-Dupuis
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Asham-Vitale-Adams
Tangradi-Jeffrey-Park

Orpik-Michalek
Letang-Martin
Engelland-Lovejoy

The biggest impact tonight has to be on the defensive side of the puck.      The Pens gave up way to many open passes and open shots at point blank not to mention the giveaways in really ugly locations.      The Standing around late in the game was also a glaring item that needs to change.     I do not think it was that the Pens ran out of gas, but I do think that the Flyers ability to take that first punch of the Penguins, and basically not go down and just get stronger is something that the Pens have seen before just not been able to overcome.

One last key to this game will be having Evgeni Malkin show up.     The Flyers have done a great job holding him in check, and if that continues, I would say the Pens ability to move forward will be difficult.      If Malkin is able to break free, then the Pens will be able to  take control of the game.     To me, he is a major factor in this game tonight and going forward.

As far as injuries, it was announced that going forward, all inured players are going to be a gametime decision.     The Puck will drop at 7:30pm.    If you would like follow me on Twitter you can at Sports Monger and on Sports Monger Radio

Topics: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Steve Sullivan

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