All it took was one scoreless effort in this series to spark the element of change from Michel Therrien. Hoping to at least split the series in Detroit, the Penguins will undergo a minor staffing change.
The Post-Gazette is reporting that Gary Roberts will return to the lineup for Monday's game. A healthy and limbering Georges Laraque will find himself a scratch amongst the post-season regulars Jeff Taffe and Kris Beech. No word yet as to Daryl Sydor's status.
Here are the lines, as released by the PG:
Ryan Malone, Sidney Crosby, Marian Hossa;
Max Talbot, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora;
Pascal Dupuis, Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy;
Gary Roberts, Adam Hall, Jarkko Ruutu
On Detroit's end, Franzen is rumored to return for action Monday night. One would almost think the arsenal is now complete.
Is it possible Therrien may keep benching Sydor for the sheer fact he has been absent for the entire playoff run? Granted they've all been healthy scratches, and he's no doubt partaking in morning skates; but would his lack of ice time during actual playoff games have a negative effect on the defensive corps?
Plus, who would you even swap out in favor of Sydor? If I had to make my pick, I'd pull the plug on Scuderi; and even that comes with hesitation. Scuderi is great on the shot block, something that is definitely a huge contribution come this time of year. The rest of the D has been stellar, minus a few exhausted mistakes Saturday night.
Which brings me to my next suggestion: I'm not coach, but perhaps Therrien should consider the overtime/sudden death approach to line changes. Don't ride these guys out till they're exhausted and need off. Perhaps a bunch of quick changes would benefit the team more when healthy and fresh legs take the ice frequently. An exhausted line change the other night resulted in a Detroit goal. In order to execute this with relative ease, puck possession will remain a huge part of Pittsburgh's game plan; something that was unfortunately shortcoming in Game 1.
On top of everything, and quite possibly the most important aspect of the game, is that Pittsburgh gets through Detroit's neutral-zone defense. Shots in volume may produce rebounds, tip-ins and your typical goal - so put em on! Next to a 12 shot performance in the first period, Pittsburgh really lacked in this particular area for the remainder of the game.
That's all for now - check in on the Open Thread later today. I'll keep my eyes on whatever links may pop up on this holiday weekend (slim to none as you can imagine). Hope you are all enjoying the time off.