Breaking Down Pens & BSens - Part One

Thursday, April 25, 2013
To break up the monotony of practices leading up to Saturday's Game One, coach Hynes and the Penguins treated today as if it were a game day. The team was scheduled for a "morning skate" before participating in an intrasquad scrimmage tonight at 7:00 p.m. for all to see at the Coal Street Rink. Admission was free and open to the public.

I was unable to attend the event but from what I gathered from those in attendance, the Thursday night practice featured different game-like situations and odd-man rushes, along with power play and penalty kill work.

I will be attending tomorrow's practice at Coal Street and gather some thoughts from the players heading into the weekend and first two games of the series.

After the jump, a general overview of the opponent for the Penguins: the Binghamton Senators with Part 2 getting a better look at the Penguins tomorrow night.

Knowing The Opponent - Binghamton Senators

Regular Season Notes

44-24-1-7 = 96 points
2nd Place East Division
5th Place Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers: Mark Stone (15G-23A), Stephane Da Costa (13G-25A), Shane Prince (18G-17A), Cole Schneider (17G-18A), Corey Cowick (16G-19A)

The BSens got off to a hot start to the 2012-13 season, going 23-8-1-3 before the NHL Lockout ended. They held a double digit lead in the East Division at the time and were led by forwards Jakob Silfverberg and  Mika Zibanejad, defenseman Andre Benoit, Patrick Weircoch and Eric Gryba and goaltenders Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner.

Since the departure of the aforementioned BSens to the NHL post-lockout, the AHL Senators went a modest 21-16-0-4 to close out the regular season. Much like other teams in the AHL, some of the hotter teams before the lockout seemed to cool off post-lockout and down the stretch.

While the BSens might have lost a few star players at the AHL level, many regulars in the lineup stepped up their game. Eight active roster players tallied 10 or more goals and in the postseason, secondary scoring can be the difference between a legitmate Calder Cup run and a first round exit.

Another keystone of a successful playoff run is stellar goaltending and team defense. With Lehner and Bishop graduated to the NHL, it's time for Nathan Lawson and Marc Cheverie between the pipes.

Do the losses of the team's top two goaltenders and top three defenseman prevent the BSens from containing the Penguins' five 20-goal scorers? Do the BSens have the scoring depth to trump the league's most stifling defense? With the injury and uncertainty on the status of Lawson, can Cheverie stand tall in net if called upon?

These are just a few questions that will be answered in this first round series, and ultimately will decide the BSens' fate. For a breakdown of the Penguins, stayed tuned tomorrow night for Part Two.


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