Not many expected the Penguins to be in this situation, but they will be fighting for their playoff life this afternoon when they take on the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of their qualifying round series. Win and they will play a decisive Game 5 on Saturday night. Lose and we will have to wait until Monday to see if the Penguins can snag the top overall pick in the NHL Draft.
Remember, today’s game will begin at 4 PM as opposed to 8 PM like the other games. You can watch the game locally on AT&T Sports Network or nationally on NBCSN.
Let’s hope this isn’t the last Pens Points of the season...
If it wasn’t obvious all season long, it was certainly apparent on Wednesday night that the defensive pairing of Jack Johnson and Justin Schultz is killing the Penguins. Their inept play was on display on two crucial Montreal goals in Game 4. [Pensburgh]
The decision on any lineup changes for Game 4 falls on the shoulders of head coach Mike Sullivan. Whatever he decides to go with in terms of scratches or goalie changes will determine if the Pens can live to fight another day. [Pensburgh]
Should the Penguins fall to the Canadiens either tonight or tomorrow night, they will join the eight other qualifying losers in a lottery for the top overall pick. On Thursday, the NHL outlined just how Phase 2 of the draft lottery will play out. [Pensburgh]
Regardless of where the Canadiens were ranked among the 24 teams taking part in the NHL’s postseason, they are still a professional hockey team with professional level players and they are leaving it all on the line against the Penguins. [Trib Live]
It’s easy to point the finger for the Penguins troubles at guys like Johnson and Schultz, but the truth is, the Penguins issues run much deeper. Their third line is getting buried, Evgeni Malkin can’t find the net, and the goaltending still has question marks. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Mike Sullivan has delivered many great moments as Penguins head coach and it will be up to him to deliver another if the Penguins are to advance past Montreal. While 2017 may have been his masterpiece, this year might be his greatest challenge. [Pittsburgh Sports Castle]
With the Penguins up 3-1 and controlling Game 4, Canadiens coach Claude Julien dipped into his deep pool of coaching experience and made adjustments on the fly. Those changes helped his side rally and push the Penguins to the brink. [EOTP]
News and notes from around the NHL...
From a hockey fan perspective, it’s hard to ask for much more than what this one-of-kind playoff setup has delivered. Now the question is being asked if the NHL should consider making this format permanent going forward. [ESPN]
One of the concerns the public raised when the NHL announced that COVID test was to be conducted daily inside the bubble was how it could interfere with public testing. Luckily, it appears there is no crossover in testing to cause delays for the public. [CBC]