Sunday, October 09, 2011

Game #3 - at Edmonton Oilers

Game 3

Penguins (2-0-0, 4 points) at Oilers (0-0-0, 0 points)

Why does it matter?
I'm not sure how often this happens, but this is the third straight road game where the Pens are the season opener for the opposition.  I can't imagine this is common.  Fortunately the Pens have been up to the challenge through the first two (seemingly more difficult) parts.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Another team effort led to a win in Calgary last night.
  • Oilers - Will they be any better than last year?  Lots of young talent, but not much in the way of results yet.
Questions to be answered
  • Is Geno okay?
  • Will Brent Johnson get the start in goal?  Flower could probably use the break with the home opener on Tuesday (which is closer than you think given that tonight's game won't finish until near midnight EST).
  • Can the Pens avoid a letdown against what appears to be inferior competition?
Keys to the game
  • Stay focused.  The Oilers don't have much in the way of star power (though they will when the young guys mature), so keep it simple and pound them.
  • Go to work on the defense.  The Oilers are short-handed on the blue line with several injuries in their final pre-season game (and Ryan Whitney isn't ready to return either).  Be aggressive on the forecheck early and wear them down.
  • Play 60 minutes.  If there's one thing that has been lacking so far, it's the third period intensity when playing with a lead.  The Pens allowed both the Canucks and Flames back into the game.  It would be nice to avoid that tonight.

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