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He swapped centers, skating Mark Scheifele

in General Section Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:38 am
by yudan18 • 20 Posts

RALEIGH Adidas Scott Mayfield Jersey , N.C. — The Pittsburgh Penguins have lots going for them recently.And it might be getting even better.That’s because they tapped another source for production earlier this week.Article continues below ...This could spell more trouble for the Carolina Hurricanes, who’ve been unable to snap out of it, when the teams meet Saturday night at PNC Arena.Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust scored two goals in Thursday night’s 2-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild. That gives him five goals in a six-game stretch.It’s almost like giving the Penguins a bonus considering that Rust, a 26-year-old winger, had one goal in his first 29 games this season.“Rusty does so many things beyond the numbers,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “Certainly when he helps us offensively, it’s a boost for our team. His speed is evident. He’s confident. We’re thrilled that it’s going in the net for him.”There’s a serious tone coming from the Hurricanes, who’ve sputtered to a 2-5-2 mark across their last nine games.Thursday night’s 4-1 home loss to the Detroit Red Wings resulted in a prolonged postgame meeting.“We’re not tough enough,” Carolina captain Justin Williams said. “We dominate stretches of periods and maybe feel that we should be leading. We’re not mentally tough enough to stay, ‘All right, that didn’t go our way. Let’s stick with it.’ “Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said the team’s ongoing scoring woes are draining for the team.“We got away from our game,” he said in reference to the Detroit game. “When you don’t score Adidas Dustin Tokarski Jersey , you try to be too cute. … It’s all predicated on just not scoring. Guys trying to do too much. That definitely doesn’t work for us.”The Hurricanes outshot the Red Wings 39-24 but it didn’t matter.“Regardless of age or experience, everyone in here has played on good teams,” Williams said. “Everyone knows what the good feelings are when things are going well.”More than two months into the season, Brind’Amour said seeing the team waver too much from the game plan is trouble.“It doesn’t work when we get away (from the system),” he said. “To see that creep in. … No one will feel sorry for you. You have to believe that your game plan is good enough to win.”The Penguins have points in eight of their last 10 games.“We’re taking what they give us and not trying to force plays that aren’t there,” Sullivan said. “Having success the last couple of games, it’s important for our confidence.”It’s not all rosy for the Penguins. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak has been sidelined by a concussion.For Carolina, rookie right winger Andrei Svechnikov has a four-game points streak. He has scored a total of four goals across the past four games, giving him 10 goals for the season.“We can’t be sitting here relying on an 18-year-old to be the guy to get it done,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s not the plan, that’s for sure.”In Thursday’s loss, center Jordan Staal and left winger Micheal Ferland returned to the Hurricanes lineup Adidas Robin Lehner Jersey , so getting them back in a groove is a priority. Staal missed the five games, while Ferland sat out seven of eight games — both dealing with concussions.This will be the first of four meetings this season between Pittsburgh and Carolina. Now that Mike Sullivan and Barry Trotz have matched wits in a playoff series for three consecutive years, they harbor very few secrets.The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals know each other inside-out from 17 postseason games since 2016. The coaches are very familiar with the dynamics of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and just about all the other moving pieces.”Every move that we make there’s a counter move, and every move they make there’s a little counter move,” Trotz said. ”It’s funny: A lot of them are the same things that we’ve seen at different parts in the last couple series. They just come in different order sometimes at you. There’s only maybe so many bricks that you have and they are just lined up a different way all the time.”Sullivan moved his pieces around as Pittsburgh tied the series at 2-2, and now Trotz gets the next chance in their chess match for Game 5 on Saturday (7 p.m. EDT, NBC). After Alex Ovechkin put no shots on net for the third time in his playoff career – with Tom Wilson suspended the first of three games – it starts with finding the right mix on the top line.Trotz tried Devante Smith-Pelly with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and that trio was outshot 21-9 at even strength. Maybe Smith-Pelly will be back on that line, maybe he won’t after the Capitals coaching staff pored over video to see what went wrong.”We’re looking at that,” Trotz said. ”I think that whole line has to be better for us. They’re going to need to be productive.”Pittsburgh’s top line of Jake Guentzel Adidas Leo Komarov Jersey , Sidney Crosby and whoever else has been incredibly productive. All 10 of the Penguins’ goals in the series have come with Crosby on the ice, and Guentzel leads all players in the playoffs with 10 goals and 21 points.”I just think he’s the best player in the game,” Sullivan said of Crosby, who played with Guentzel and Dominik Simon in Game 4. ”Sid certainly makes everybody around him better players but you’ve got to give Jake a lot of credit for the game that he’s playing.”The Penguins got speedy winger Carl Hagelin back from injury while the Capitals lost Wilson. That’s a disadvantage for Washington, but the spotlight is still on Trotz to make the necessary adjustments as Capitals-Penguins becomes a best-of-three series.”I think every game both teams recalibrate, if you will, in some areas,” Trotz said. ”There’s little changes we’ve noticed with them, and there’s some changes that we added in. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t have the effect that we wanted to. At the end of the day, it’s two guys going nose to nose, battling for position, battling for free pucks Adidas Valtteri Filppula Jersey , executing on plays under pressure. Once we put a plan in place, we put the players in charge, really.”CHESS MATCH IIIn the West, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette also made a key change in the series between the NHL’s top two teams, benching Game 2 double-overtime hero Kevin Fiala in favor of veteran Scott Hartnell for more size, strength and experience against Winnipeg. That, plus replacing Alexei Emelin with Yannick Weber, allowed Nashville to better counter imposing Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in tying the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Saturday night in Nashville (9:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN).Laviolette said making a change involves taking into account the opposition, building, a player’s experience and style of play.”They’re never easy,” Laviolette said. ”But I thought the guys that went in the lineup last night did a really good job. Hartnell played a good game. He did what we were hoping he would do Adidas Dylan DeMelo Jersey , and I thought Yannick Weber went in and played a good game.”With the Jets held without a shot for the first 12 minutes of the third period, Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice started mixing up his lines. He swapped centers, skating Mark Scheifele with Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine with Paul Stastny between Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor. Laine scored his first goal of the series and first in the postseason since Game 2 on April 13 against Minnesota.DERBY DAY ODDSThe betting favorite to win these two series will be whoever comes out on top in Game 5, based on history alone. The 256 previous times where it was tied at 2, the Game 5 winner went on to win the series 78.9 percent of the time. So there’s no urgency lacking.”We’re going to need our best effort of the series probably in Game 5 to get a win,” Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen said. ”I think we’re building a belief that we can beat these guys. We know we’re going to have to play really well, but it’s possible. We think we can do it.”—AP Sports Writers Will Graves in Pittsburgh and Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed.—

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