Penguins Report: Getaway Day
Sunday, 05.9.2010 / 12:49 PM ET / Penguins Report
By Jason Seidling
Just a reminder to Penguins fans that the outdoor screen in front of Mellon Arena will NOT be in operation for Game 6 on Monday night due to the near-sellout crowd expected for WWE wrestling.
Head coach Dan Bylsma addressed reporters on Sunday morning at Mellon Arena before the team took off for Montreal. Here is what Bylsma had to say:
On getting offense from the defensemen:
I don’t think we have ever as a team not decided to use our points. It is part of how we play and want to play – both coming out of the D-zone on the rush and in the offensive zone. Some teams give you more space up top than other teams. We had to adjust in the Ottawa series with the way they were blocking shots and we had to do different things. This series has presented maybe some different challenges based upon the way Ottawa played. As the series has gone on we have tried to do different things. We have been somewhat successful but still think we need to be more successful in parts of our offense using our defense, getting shots through and having a net-front presence. We did see some of that (Saturday) night. We have good offensive guys back there who got shots through but we also had traffic around the net like we need to have. If it’s not going to be on a 2-on-1 or a more typical goal like you might get from Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin then you have to score in other ways. I thought we did that last night.
On changing lines throughout a game:
I think each coach has made changes to his lines and then made adjustments in-game pretty much every game to this point. As a coaching staff we talk before the game about the lines we saw in warmup, but you didn’t see those lines from our team until about the fifth rotation with the exception of the (Jordan) Staal line going out for the first shift of the game. We were looking for a little bit different matchups. We had defensive pairings on the ice that we were trying to get away from. It wasn’t just reading and reacting. I think both coaches had a plan going in and probably settled into a little bit more of a regular routine as the game went on. The score sometimes changes that. The flow of the game sometimes changes that. If there are long periods where there are no whistles that can change it too. If you know you are going to have two timeouts coming in short succession you can change your lines, which did happen as well in the first period. I was talking to my son this morning and he was asking me (about wearing) the headset. I told him there is a lot going on in my head and I can’t talk on the headset. That is why (assistant) coach (Tony) Granato gets to talk on the headset. You kind of have a plan but you have to read and react to the situation versus the other coach and what is going out on the ice. My brain is tired.
On his son asking better questions than the media:
He asks good ones. Today he was wondering why I had (Pascal) Dupuis up with Crosby and Malkin and why I wasn’t communicating upstairs like (Montreal assistant coach) Kurk Muller was. That was what prompted that question from him.
On expecting a lot from Crosby in Game 6:
I do take comfort in the way we are playing the game as a group regardless of whether Sid scores or Geno scores or not. We are not giving up a ton of chances; we probably gave up more last night than the previous couple of games. We are playing well away from the puck. When you see Sidney Crosby on the forecheck knock Hal Gill down you know he isn’t just worried about getting a goal or getting his points. I could give numerous scenarios away from the puck – the chance Evgeni Malkin got on a 2-on-2 rush – it’s because of Sidney Crosby driving the net and drawing attention which allows Geno to cut in behind for a great scoring chance. It didn’t add up to a goal or a point or an assist, but it is adding up to good hockey. When our team is playing like that, some nights it is going to be a Kris Letang or a Sergei Gonchar that wears the cape. We also know that down the road it’s going to be Crosby and Malkin that have great chances to be the hero as well.
On Hal Gill:
What he has done for the Canadiens this year in the playoffs is not a surprise to us. It might be a big story and he might be notoriety for his shutdown of the Capitals and what he has done this series as well, but when we talked about Hal Gill and (Josh) Gorges as the shutdown pair, we knew we were playing a guy who had won four series last year as a shutdown guy. He has been all of that. He has been all of the 6-foot-7 that he is out on the ice. It’s not just the size that it is tough to get around. He has a good stick. He is also able to move the puck out of harms way and not just be that body. He has done an outstanding job of that 5-on-5 and as a tough guy in front of the net on the penalty kill. We have a respect for him, that is for sure. I think he is gaining more and more from everybody else – not just on the ice but in the room from his team. He is a big man on the ice but I think he is a big part of staying calm and focused and on the task the Canadiens have had.
On Crosby being committed to playing a team game:
Sid has always worked to round out his game in all situations. You are talking about a guy who went to penalty kill meetings for three straight years and was never on the penalty kill because he wanted to learn, be ready and get out there. He worked to be a better faceoff guy. When we have 30 seconds left in the game he has to be the guy who goes out to take the draw regardless of which side it is on. That’s a great situation to be able to have from your captain and from a guy who leads your team in points. He is also a guy who will block a shot and be in a spot to do that. He has done that in this series. He has done a pretty good job at both ends of the rink. The last two games he has gotten quite a few scoring chances and has been around that net many times. At the same time he is still focused on how we need to play and other responsibilities that he does bring.
Montreal has been banged up along the blue line all series long, as veterans Andre Markov (undisclosed) and Jaroslav Spacek (chest congestion) have combined to play just 5:11 minutes (from Markov in Game 1) through the first six games. The Canadiens might have to dig into their pool of reinforcements once again as Hal Gill, who has had a great postseason run for the Canadiens as a shutdown defender, much like he did for the Penguins the past two springs, missed much of the third period on Saturday.
While Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin offered no report on Gill other than to say it "is a lower-body injury and he will be re-evaluated," his loss would be huge for Montreal. Here is what the Montreal Gazette had to say about Gill's injury.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were given the day off on Sunday following their 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Pittsburgh now holds a 3-2 advantage in the series, and will look to advance to its third consecutive conference final with a victory in Game 6 on Monday night at Bell Centre.
The Penguins will be leaving later this afternoon for Montreal, where on Monday night they will be looking to secure their sixth consecutive series in enemy territory while also improving to 5-1 away from Mellon Arena during the 2010 postseason.