What will Dan Bylsma, coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, do in Game 3 of the playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers? Not much he has tried so far has worked after the first period of the two games of the series. So in order to change his team's fortunes, what can Bylsma do? Here are some ideas for him.
1) Change goalies and start Brent Johnson in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. While the porous play of the Pens' defensive lines is more the cause of the Flyers' late scoring, you can't stick with a goalie that just gave up seven goals in a playoff game.
2) Rest Sidney Crosby on the bench for the first 10 minutes of the game. Although Crosby has scored early goals in each of the two games of the series, he has been invisible in the third period. Maybe he is tiring out or maybe he has not fully recovered from his long layoff. But whatever is the case, he could be more helpful to the Pens if he is effective in the third period.
3) Change the line centered by Evgeni Malkin, the world's best hockey player, into a checking line. Then have them hound the Flyers' 19-year old rookie, Sean Couturier. After all, Couturier had a hat trick in Game 2, while the world's best player has yet to score a goal in the first two games of the series.
4) Decline power play opportunities. Since the Flyers scored two short-handed goals in Game 2, the Pens might do better without the man advantage.
5) Have his team practice their dives. The Pens have only a 7-3 power-play advantage during the first two games. A little diving practice might help them increase that advantage. And ironically, Kris Letang was penalized for taking a dive during the first period of Game 2.
6) Start the game with an empty net. Maybe if the Pens let the Flyers score the first goal for a change, the Flyers won't be able to make another great comeback.
If there was a survey taken of Philadelphia-area sports fans this month asking who their most hated person was, Bylsma might win in a landslide. It will take a long time to forget his "gutless" move to instigate a brawl on April 1 at the end of the recent Flyers' regular season victory. But payback is priceless.
It's too early to say the word, especially since the Pens have the best two hockey players in the world. But I'm keeping my broom handy just in case.
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