Round 2, Game 3: Preview and Lineup Possibilities

Monday, May 2, 2011
The Penguins and Checkers square off in Game 3 tonight.
After splitting the first two games of the series in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins will look to take control in a pivotal Game 3 tonight in Charlotte against the Checkers.

Be sure to predict the final score and who you think the first star will be in tonight's game and post that either on Twitter with the #HPHockey tag or in the Game Thread before 7:00 p.m. EST.

In Game 2 this past Saturday, the Penguins played a much more physical game and most of the guys were finishing their checks including Joey Mormina’s big hit on Herauf, Tim Wallace running right over Terry and many punishing hits from Keven Veilleux on some of the Checkers top line guys like Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuck. While I don’t think that the Checkers are a weak team physically, the Penguins definitely have a decided edge in the physical department. Hopefully they will continue to punish the Checkers again tonight.

As for lineup changes, Nick Petersen missed Saturday’s game for personal reasons and should be in the lineup tonight. Ben Street is day-to-day and might also return to the lineup. Jesse Boulerice missed the previous game and is also listed day-to-day. Coach John Hynes is going to have some difficult decisions to make on who he wants up front. Here’s a look at who will be in tonight and who is on the bubble:

Definitely in unless injured
Keven Veilleux – Ryan Craig – Geoff Walker
Brett Sterling – Joe Vitale – Bryan Lerg
Chris Collins – Zach Sill – Tim Wallace

On the bubble

Nick Petersen, Ben Street (DTD), David Marshall, Jesse Boulerice (DTD) and Paul Thompson

The list of the “bubble” forwards is in order of most likely to play to less likely. Although Thompson played pretty well on Saturday, his inexperience at this level is what will keep him out. But it all depends on whether or not the Pens stick with seven defenseman like they had in Game 2.

If Street and Boulerice still aren’t 100% and the Pens only dress six defenseman then Petersen, Marshall and Thompson should all be in the lineup tonight. If Carl Sneep dresses as the 7th defensemen, then only two healthy forwards on the bubble will play.

My thoughts on tonight's lineup
The Penguins should stick with the seven defensemen and 11 forward approach from Game 2. Here's what it will probably look like tonight:

Keven Veilleux – Ryan Craig – Geoff Walker
Brett Sterling – Joe Vitale – Bryan Lerg
Chris Collins – Zach Sill – Tim Wallace
Nick Petersen - David Marshall

Robert Bortuzzo - Brain Strait
Corey Potter - Steve Wagner
Joey Mormina - Andrew Hutchinson - Carl Sneep

Brad Thiessen will be in net tonight.

I'll be live tweeting the game tonight on the blog's Twitter feed and the game thread will be up at 6:30 p.m. EST. Puck drops at 7. You can listen to tonight's action live on 102.3 The Mountain online!

Let's do this!


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