2010 NHL Playoffs: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators, Game Two Preview

Mitchell SellContributor IApril 16, 2010

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 14:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a pass against the Ottawa Senators in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on April 14, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Senators defeated the Penguins 5-4.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Tonight's probable starting goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins (big shocker there) and Brian Elliott for the Senators.

There will be lineup adjustments for both teams tonight. It appears that winger Ruslan Fedotenko will be replaced in the lineup tonight by Mike Rupp.

The Senators have lost winger Milan Michalek (22G,12A) for the rest of the playoffs to a torn knee ligament. This comes after losing winger Alexei Kovalev (18G,31A) prior to the playoffs with a similar injury. Ottawa's forwards were already mismatched against the Penguins, and these two injuries make it worse.

As evidenced by Game One and much of this season, the Penguins' problems lie in protecting their own zone. My one gripe with Ray Shero's building of this team is that there are too many offensive-minded D-men: Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski, and Jordan Leopold. Brooks Orpik and Mark Eaton are the only shut-down type blueliners. Contrast this with last year when the Penguins had THE shutdown pair in Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi, both lost to free agency this past offseason.

I have a crazy idea that maybe, just maybe, Dan Bylsma should give a try.

Sit one of the wingers like Fedotenko, Rupp, Kennedy, etc., and dress Jay McKee, while putting Kris Letang on the wing. McKee is solid in his own end, and Letang's offensive ability would be welcomed alongside Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Jordan Staal.

While it may be too late to consider this at this point, I think it is something Dan Bylsma should think about in the future. Either way, it would be the most creative innovation in Pittsburgh sports coaching since Pirates manager John Russell started batting the pitcher eighth.