The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to bounce back in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game will be on Monday night at 8 p.m. and can be seen on NBCSN.
Here are five keys for Game 2:
1.) Fast Start
The Penguins didn’t get off to the best start in Game 1. The Lightning had the better start while generating some early chances, but fortunately for the Penguins they didn’t end up in the back of the net. Pittsburgh needs to come out with more urgency and spend more time in the attacking zone while establishing a fore check. The Pens should feed off the early energy from the home crowd and get some chances. The Lightning are 7-1 in the postseason when scoring first, while Pittsburgh is 3-3 when opponents net the first goal of the game. The Penguins are 5-1 when scoring first and the Bolts are 2-1 when the opponent scores first.
The two teams have taken their fair share of penalties during this postseason. Tampa Bay is leading the way with 47 penalties while Pittsburgh isn’t far behind with 44 penalties. The Bolts penalty kill has been able to pass the test so far by killing off 87.2% of the penalties taken. The Pens have killled off 81.8% of their penalties. The two teams, especially the Lightning, need to stay out of the box. If both teams keep taking penalties then it’s going to come back to burn them because each team has a good power play.
3.) Get Shots Through To Net
Pittsburgh had a lot of shots blocked or miss the net high and wide in Game 1. They’ll need to get more shots on net like they did in the third period of the first game, if they want to have a chance at making this a series. The Bolts did a really nice job of getting in the shooting and passing lanes in Game 1. The Penguins will need to figure out a way to make an adjustment and get more shots through to the goalie with traffic in front.
Matt Murray has already been named the started for the Pens in Game 2 by coach Mike Sullivan. Murray will look to have a bounce back game after giving up three goals in the first game. The Bolts haven’t officially made an announcement on who its starting goalie will be for Game 2. Ben Bishop left Game 1 when he injured his leg, and is listed as day-to-day for the Bolts. Andrei Vasilevskiy replaced him in the net and had a very strong game especially in the third period. The Pens need to get more traffic in front of the goalie and take away his eyes.
5.) Get Crosby & Malkin Going
If the Penguins want to stay in this series then they’ll need to get its two superstar players going. Sidney Crosby had an assist on the power play while Evgeni Malkin didn’t register a point in Game 1. Crosby hasn’t scored a goal since Game 4 of the first round, which is a goalless streak of eight games. Malkin has been held off the scoreboard for the last five games and his last goal was in Game 1 of round two. Mike Sullivan will need to figure out how to get these two going even if it means switching up lines or just having better in game management to get them away from the lines that Jon Cooper wants them to face.