Friday, April 25, 2008

Game 1 Preview

The Pens only lingering injury (Gary Roberts) will be out for game 1. It's unfortunate but not the worst thing in the world since his replacement, Adam Hall, is a good defensive forward and a tight checker that should be useful in a series against a team like the Rangers.

A lot has been made of the whole Sean Avery fiasco and how he might try to get under the skin of a guy like Sidney Crosby. We don't make too much of it. Unlike Martin Brodeur, who has to stand stationary in more or less the same spot, Crosby flies around the ice and will be much harder to keep up with when you're trying to pull antics. We think the bigger issue is the Rangers planning to insert Colton Orr into the lineup. Orr is pretty much a pre-lockout goon and doesn't bring much to the table hockey-wise.

The key thing tonight to watch for is how the Pens shooters will attack Henrik Lundqvist. Even though hockey is a "read and react" type game, obviously the Pens all know Lundqvist's strength of stopping pretty much 100% of low shots. They're going to have to elevate the puck (and thus miss the net more) in order to generate scorable shots. Usually a team is well thought of if they can put at least 30 shots on goal...We'd be ok with the Pens only getting 20 if they are high, sniping shots; 20 of those might be enough for 3-4 goals and the win.

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