News & Notes Heading Into Game Three - Penguins vs. Senators (Series Tied 1-1)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spencer Machacek will be the veteran scratch for Game Three tonight after Nick Drazenovic sat out at the veteran scratch in Game Two.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Senators are gearing up for a crucial Game Three in their first round best-of-five series, which saw each team win an overtime game in the two games played in Binghamton.

Now the series shifts to Pennsylvania for Games 3 and 4 tonight and Friday night, with the result of tonight's match up at the Mohegan Sun Arena putting one team on the brink of elimination.

You can follow all of tonight's action LIVE with in-game updates on Twitter at @H_P_Hockey!

Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Game Two last Saturday night showed how each team needs to play in order to be successful.
  • The Penguins dominated the first half of the contest, using their tight defensive style and physical forecheck to out-work and out-muscle the BSens, who tried to match the Pens' style of play in the first 35 minutes or so of Game Two.
  • The BSens got back to playing their style of hockey in the third period of Game Two and it showed, as they battled back and dominated the third period with the high-flying run and gun type offense that made them so successful in the regular season.
Lineup Notes

For the Penguins, the word out of practice yesterday is that forward Spencer Machacek - who sat out as the team's veteran scratch in Game One - will be the odd man out for Game Three. Machacek was a minus two in Game Two, but had some of the Penguins' best chances in overtime. 

That means Nick Drazenovic - the veteran scratch from Game Two - returns to the lineup. While it's a tough call picking one of the veterans to sit out, I think head coach John Hynes made the right decision and here's why.

Without Drazenovic in Game Two, the BSens were able to get their shutdown line out against the WBS top line of Zlobin-Ebbett-Kobasew and keep them at bay. Nothing against Carter Rowney, the guy who moved up to the 2nd line center position for Game Two, but the Pens were more of a one-line offensive team without Drazenovic centering the 2nd line. 

Rowney, at least in my opinion, has been one of the most consistent forwards for the Penguins this series and should be in the lineup tomorrow night. 

With the benefit of home-ice advantage and the last change, the Penguins are more offensively dynamic and have two offensively-minded centers they can send over the boards with Drazenovic in the lineup. That will certainly mess with the BSens match ups from the last game in Binghamton.

Expected WBS Lines for Game Three

Zlobin - Ebbett - Kobasew
Zolnierczyk - Drazenovic - Kostopoulos 
Uher - Rowney - Payerl 
Carman - Sill - Farnham

Despres - McNeill 
Harrington - Mikkelson
Dumoulin - Goers


Keys For Game Three?

For the Penguins, it's the obvious. They can't allow the BSens to score early and get their offense rolling early on. They also need to stay out of the penalty box. The BSens went 2/3 on the man advantage in Game Two and both Penguin penalties the BSens scored on were at critical times in the game.

The first penalty came in the first period after the Pens took a 1-0 lead and had all the momentum. The BSens tied the game at 1-1 with the power play goal.

The other came late in the 2nd period with the Pens up 3-1. The 2nd power play goal made it a one-goal game going into the 3rd period and the BSens ended up tying it at 3-3 on the opening shift of the final frame.

For the BSens, it's simple as well. Stick to your guns. The BSens didn't play tight defensively and limit their opponents chances this season. They focused on moving the puck up ice quickly and torching opposing teams defenses with their offensively skilled forwards and puck-moving defensemen.

The BSens didn't win a lot of 2-1 or 3-2 games in the regular season, they won 5-4 or even 6-5 games because their roster and style allows for high-scoring games. In the first half of Game Two, they tried to match the Penguins style and were dominated. They got back to playing BSens hockey in the third period and were successful.

Which team from both sides will show up tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena? That remains to be seen.

You can follow all of tonight's action LIVE with in-game updates on Twitter at @H_P_Hockey! Puck drops at 7:05 ET for Game Three of the best-of-five Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.


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