Sunday, May 19, 2013

Penguins Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3 Preview - @ Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators

7:30 p.m., Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario

The Penguins got off on the right foot with a two game sweep of the Senators to hold serve on home ice and now really put themselves in a really good spot now that the series shifts to Canada for game three and four of the series. Realistically if the Penguins come out of these two games with a split then they will be in a spot that they probably want to be in and give themselves a chance to close out the series in Pittsburgh on Friday. I don't think you can expect a sweep in this series after just two games because it is extremely hard to sweep a series in the NHL. Since the last NHL lockout there have only been 14 sweeps in the playoffs in seven season with no season having more than three sweeps in all of the series. While it is possible it is just something that doesn't happen very often.

Ottawa is going to come out guns blazing today. If there was ever a time that the Penguins were going to have to weather the storm it is going to be in this game. Scotiabank Place is going to be loud and the Senators are going to want to jump on the Penguins right off the bat and try to take their first lead of the series. The Penguins have got off to fast starts in both of the games so far in this series and while they are talented enough to do that again I would be a little surprised if they had such an easy time at the beginning of the game like they had this year.

The big news in Ottawa today is that they will be welcoming back Jason Spezza to the lineup. Spezza is the teams top line center who has been out almost the entire season with a back problem and is now just getting back into the lineup. Spezza is a superior talent in the NHL but I would be pretty surprised if he came in and had the effect that some are thinking he might. He has been skating with the team and on his own for a little while now but on Saturday he finally took off the no contact jersey and had his normal top line jersey on for the first time. So theoretically he has had one practice with his line and now he is jumping in to a game three in the second round of the NHL Playoffs. I can't imagine that Spezza is anywhere near ready to compete at the highest level and this move just smells of desperation from the Ottawa perspective. They are a desperate team so I guess it fits the mold. I guess it wouldn't shock me to see him have a significant game but I am really thinking he is going to be a non-factor tonight.

A couple of lineup changes for the Penguins as Mark Eaton is going to be in the lineup in place of Deryk Engelland. This really isn't a shocker as Engelland has been pretty bad in the first two games and Eaton has been pretty solid all season. Eaton didn't play a ton in the New York series as he was a little out of place with the speed of the Islanders but he should have an easier time against Ottawa. Also looks as if Tanner Glass will be in the lineup as Joe Vitale was absent from the Penguins morning skate with an injury. Nothing for sure on what the injury may be and you know that Dan Bylsma isn't going to give out too much information in that respect but Glass will be in.


Probables

Pittsburgh (6-2 in playoffs)

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
James Neal - Evgeni Malkin - Jarome Iginla
Brenden Morrow - Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke
Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Tyler Kennedy

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Kris Letang - Matt Niskanen
Mark Eaton - Douglas Murray

Goaltender
Tomas Vokoun


Ottawa (4-3 in playoffs)

Forwards
Cory Conacher - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Jakob Silfverberg - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Zack Smith - Mika Zibanejad - Chris Neil
Colin Greening - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Erik Condra

Defense
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Andre Benoit

Goaltender
Craig Anderson


The Series (Pittsburgh leads 2-0)

May 13, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 1

May 16, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 3 The Stats:

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