Stanley Cup Round 1 Preview?
With four games to go in the regular season, one could assume the playoff match-ups a done deal right? Not in the metropolitan division which is intensely heated down the stretch, with only one point separating the two teams who will stare down tonight. If the Stanley Cup playoffs started today the Penguins and Blue Jackets would face off against one another with the matter of home ice to be discussed. Obviously, today’s matchup will be a hotly contested one, with the advantage in the playoffs potentially on the line the two teams are expected to come out fast and physical.
The cavalry is coming for Pittsburgh, but it remains to be seen if it’ll be for this game in particular. Defenseman Trevor Daley and Forward Tom Sestito both skated in practice with non-contact jerseys. It’s also been reported that Daley will travel with the team in the remaining three games after tonight. Forward Evgeni Malkin and Defenceman Olli Maatta skated today before practice, but no news as of yet of Letang, Hagelin, and Kunitz all players who did not skate. Sullivan referred to the players injured as “status quo”, so the mystery of the lineup starts early this year as the Penguins head down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The lines looked as follows in practice:
Defensive Pairings looked like this:
PP #1 looked like this:
“We’re trying to fight for home ice and put our team in the best position to be successful… the stakes are high.” -Coach Sullivan on tonight’s game against Colombus.