Wednesday Pens Points: Game 4 Action Tonight

Kirk Irwin

Montreal sweeps Tampa. Sharks devour the Kings. Bruins and Rangers both regain home ice advantage. Gibbons, Conner, Goc practice, status unclear.

Well, that was a wild night of playoff hockey last night.

Montreal managed a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose loss of Ben Bishop to a dislocated elbow was crucial. Anders Lindback was pulled last night after allowing the 3rd goal and in came Kristers Gudlevskis, who did a fantastic job and allowed Tampa to tie it at 3, but in the end the Habs got a PP and managed to stuff the game- and series-winning goal behind him. That game upset me more than was reasonable. That team and those fans ... make one glad there is such a thing as the Boston Bruins.

Ron MacLean of HNIC had some apologizing to do for saying they shouldn't have used a French referee (St. Laurent) in the Montreal-Tampa game last night after some officiating controversy in game 3. St. Laurent was the guy who allowed an outright assault on Braden Holtby so in principle I have no idea why he's working the playoffs to begin with.

Speaking of the Boston Bruins, they shut out the Red Wings last night to gain the upper hand in the series again. I was kind of semi-seriously pulling for the Red Wings until now, but we all know Boston needs to move through and get with the program.

The Kings are in a royal pickle after losing the third game on a Patrick Marleau OT goal (his 60th playoff goal, which is kind of incredible). Sharks mean business this time. They are the better team in this series, and this might just be their year.

I could have spared myself a lot of heartache had I just opted to watch the Rangers-Flyers game, won by the Rangers 4-1. Instead I angrily turned off the TV after Montreal scored the last goal and stormed off to bed, only to wake up to the pictures and gifs of Dan Carcillo doing Dan Carcillo things, this time celebrating his deal-sealing goal to the faces of Flyers fans who only had kind gestures for him.

Back to the Penguins, first off here is the injury report: Goc, Conner and Gibbons all practiced on Tuesday although it remains uncertain whether any of them (well, Goc certainly not) might be ready for game action. Gibbons appeared to skate without problems.

The Pens power play needs a lot of work and attention. It is not an exact science, to be fair, but there are so many things to be improved upon over the currently inefficient man advantage.

Switch in defensive pairings for game 3 had a little something to do with better play. Scuderi was visibly better paired with Niskanen, and Maatta and Letang survived as well, despite having their share of mistakes.

Malkin says he found some confidence in Monday's win and we need him to build from that. His line is dominating posession and let's all hope he and Neal go back to dominating the score sheet as well.

Columbus would like another crack at playing with a lead, which has proved to be a team's undoing in this series. They will work on keeping their poise, which in absence of playoff experience is what they need to do.

Game 4 tonight. Let's hope for an efficient and boring game.

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