Monday, March 21, 2011

Game #73 - at Detroit Red Wings

Game 73
Penguins (41-23-8, 90 points) at Red Wings (43-21-8, 94 points)

Why does it matter?
This is the toughest contest of the year so far for the Pens. They're playing the second half of a back-to-back, will almost certainly be without Matt Cooke, and are facing a team with a lethal power play.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Another collapse against the Rangers with more dumb penalties (maybe just one, but it was a big one).
  • Red Wings - The great feeling of the four game winning streak is gone after a rough Saturday night in Nashville. The Wings will be ticked.
Questions to be answered
  • Do the Pens have a chance to win this game? Really?
  • Can Johnson pitch the shutout (he'll be in net tonight)? I think that's the best chance to escape from Detroit with a point or two.
  • Will Aaron Asham be able to fill a key role with Matt Cooke likely out of the lineup? Who fills in on the PK?
Keys to the game
  • Live in their zone. The Pens have become accomplished at dominating the zone time over the past few games. Get that effort level going tonight.
  • Stay out of the box. The Wings like to run the subtle interference plays. Don't retaliate, and don't get caught with the free hand (Mike Rupp especially).
  • Protect Johnson, who has been shaky early in some of his recent starts. Get the wagons circled and go from there.

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