What: Game 3, first round, 2019 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs
When: 12:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: NBC Nationally in America
Series Refresh: Game 1 was a see-saw of the Islanders taking three one-goal leads, and the Penguins forcing a tie three times. Josh Bailey won it in overtime for NYI joining a storied history of Pens’ OT games of this era. Game 2 saw another tight, defensive-minded game go into the third period tied before the Islanders again pulled away to win.
SBN Team Counterpart: Lighthouse Hockey
Anders Lee - Mathew Barzal - Jordan Eberle
Josh Bailey - Brock Nelson - Tom Kuhnhackl
Anthony Beauvillier - Valtteri Filppula - Leo Komarov
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech / Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy / Scott Mayfield
Devon Toews / Johnny Boychuk
Starting goalie: Robin Lehner
—No changes from the first two games expected for the Islanders, and why would there be? Their defensive systems are working to frustrate the Pens, and their top forwards are scoring goals at key times.
And now for the Pens..
Be the smartest of your friends by sharing some of these tidbits (courtesy Penguins PR):
The Penguins are 21-11 all-time at home in the postseason under head coach Mike Sullivan.
-Matt Murray is 15-6 all-time in the postseason at PPG Paints Arena. He owns a 1.95 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in those contests.
—This marks the sixth time that the Penguins have trailed 0-2 in a playoff series during the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin Era. The Pens have gone 2-3 in those series.
—Two Pittsburgh playoff traditions – the Big Screen and “Gold-Outs”– will return beginning with today’s game. However the popular KeyBank Big Screen will be in a different location. The large video screen, a staple of Penguins playoff hockey for more than a decade, will be located in the arena parking lot at the corner of Centre Avenue and Logan Street – directly across from PPG Paints Arena. Logan Street will be closed to vehicular traffic between Centre and Wylie Avenue for home games. The KeyBank Big Screen will be in operation for all home playoff games, with activation beginning two hours before game time.
The band “Ferris Bueller’s Revenge” will be performing on the Canada Dry Stage. Fans may also test their skills at interactive games known as the “Penguins Combine” from the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, and face painters also will be available at no charge.
Inside PPG Paints Arena, “Gold-Outs” will again become the norm as the Pens will distribute gold t-shirts and towels to all fans in attendance. On Sunday, towels and t-shirts will be courtesy of the Penguins’ playoff-presenting partners: PPG, UPMC, and IGS Energy.
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Dominik Simon
Jared McCann -Evgeni Malkin - Patric Hornqvist
Bryan Rust - Nick Bjugstad - Phil Kessel
Zach Aston-Reese - Matt Cullen- Garrett Wilson
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Jack Johnson /Justin Schultz
Marcus Pettersson / Erik Gudbranson
Expected scratches: Olli Maatta (healthy), Chad Ruhwedel (upper-body injury), Zach Trotman (healthy) Teddy Blueger (healthy)
—It seems like the return of McCann will take place after missing game 2 due to injury
—The move to put Simon on the top line is an interesting one, and from this perspective a positive one. First, if it’s not working or producing it can and surely will be changed during he game. Secondly, it’s not like Bryan Rust or Patric Hornqvist (two typical Crosby playoff right wings) are doing much right now anyways. Crosby+Simon drove possession to the tune of 60% Corsi For this season. The Penguins also scored 4.77 Goals For/60 with that duo on the ice. Those results are astronomical, and quite frankly worthy of a chance to see if Simon can use his hockey IQ and playmaking ability to help get Crosby on track.
No panic amongst the Pens
Despite losing both games to open the series, the veteran team seems pretty level-headed and ready for the challenge of Game 3. From the team:
“I think our mindset has to be to go out there with the urgency and desperation to get a win,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get one (on Long Island), but we’re coming back home and it’s a big game.”
Historically, the last time the Pens were down 2-0 in a series with Games 3 and 4 being played in Pittsburgh was the 2009 Stanley Cup Final against Detroit. That same year, Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 to the Capitals after losing the first two games in Washington. The Pens would win both series in seven games.
”If they can win two in a row, we can do the same thing,” Letang said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind that we’re going to lose all four. We’re confident in our group and we’re coming into our building and trying to set the tone.”
Saying the right things is great, now it’s time to go do it.