Detroit leads series 3-1.
So, to preview this game, I thought I'd take a look back at the last time the Pens were down 3-1 in a series and going on the road. It was last year against the Senators. Granted this is a much different team, but check out some of the stuff I wrote back then - seems a little eerie, doesn't it? (especially considering the Pens lost Game 4 on home ice last year by a score of 2-1)
The Pens need to play the same style game they did on Tuesday. They need to out hit the Sens. They need to play with the same desperate intensity. The only thing they need to improve on is simply to score more goals. If the power play isn't working, they need to find a way to get it done at even strength.Same thing still applies - they worked hard and had chances, which they were unable to finish.
I also think that the coaching staff needs to do a great job tomorrow. Michel Therrien needs to be smart about his player utilization. He needs to do a good job matching lines. I know Therrien says he doesn't think about that too much, but you don't want Crosby to see the top combo from the Sens all night long. You want to put Sid in the best position to succeed. Isn't that the job of a coach?Matching lines discussion anyone? Wow - this is like a broken record - Coach Therrien still says he's not worried about matching so much.
Mike Yeo also needs to have some answers for the Pens on the power play. To some extent, they're generating offense and not scoring, but the Sens also seem to have them figured out. I think it's time to have a different wrinkle available, just to give the Sens a different look. You have to keep them honest.This one hasn't applied quite so much until the Pens were unable to find a way to score with a two man advantage. You have to put the puck in the net there.
So can the Pens change what happened last year in a Game 5 on the road with the series on the line? I sure hope so.
Holmstrom will play tomorrow. Likely no changes for the Pens, but I'd be tempted to get Letang back in there with instructions to get the puck on the net. He has the shot to do it, more so than Rob Scuderi, who appeared to hurt his shoulder a bit. I think you leave Sydor in the lineup. He has been solid, in my opinion.
Let's all say a prayer to St Lemieux, the patron saint of scoring, that Geno is able to step up in Game 5. He did register 5 shots in Game 4, so maybe that's a good sign. Getting a contribution from Malkin / Sykora / Whoever would be a HUGE boost, and boy, I'd like more reasons to use that word (HUGE, in case you missed it).
Let's Go Pens!