It's Go Time.
For the first time since the early 90s, the Penguins will play a game in the Stanley Cup Finals. There are more previews than you can shake a stick at, so I'll keep this one simple. Here are my keys to Game 1:
- Withstand the Rush - The Wings will come out and try to put these young Penguins in their place. The Pens need to hold their ground and play things tight. Focus on the simple plays early on.
- Pick on the Little Guy - Even though Coach Babcock will get the last change, the Pens need to take advantage when they pin the 3rd and 4th line of Detroit in their own zone. The Pens have a strong puck possession game in the offensive end - it's time to put that to good use.
- Protect Fleury - Marc-Andre will be asked to make more quality saves in this series than in the last three combined if the Pens are to have a chance. He'll need all the help he can get. Protect the middle of the ice. Keep the puck to the outside. When the Wings cycle, be patient, and let them keep the puck along the boards where it's hard to score from.
- Score When Given the Chance - The Pens will need to be opportunistic on the power play, especially in Detroit. The Wings will take penalties. The Pens need to take advantage. In addition, the Pens will need to use their speed to make the Wings pay on odd man rushes.
I'm looking for a entertaining, tightly played game. I can't think of a better way to spend a night in front of the TV.
Let's Go Pens.