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Pittsburgh Penguins: Bounceback or Fall Flat Against Florida Panthers?

Eron NoreContributor IIIJune 26, 2016

Pittsburgh Penguins: Bounceback or Fall Flat Against Florida Panthers?

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming off what may be their worst performance of the season. That dark spot was a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

    For all the hub-bub about the passive 1-3-1 that the 'Ning play, one fact seems to be lost. When it is working at its best, it can completely shut a team down.

    I am no fan of a passive forecheck, but it seems to be the best bet against an attack team like the Penguins. Combine this with the Penguins failure to execute on any level and you have an utter embarrassment of a game.

    Luckily, it only counts as one game in the standing and we can move on. The Penguins close out the Dad's road trip tonight against the Florida Panthers.

    All the fun in the Florida sun will be moot if they cannot get at least two points out of the game tonight. Go to the slides and check out some things to watch.

Energy

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    With the stench of such a bad performance still very ripe, look for some early energy from the Pens. They will be hitting early and often on the forecheck.

    If the Panthers can weather the early storm, it could be a long night.

Tyler Kennedy

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    Tyler Kennedy is back in the lineup, having recovered from his recent concussion. Now that he has a few games under his belt, we can resume watching the direction his season will go.

    It seems unlikely that he will match last season's goal total, but he does need to be a steady contributor. He scored the lone goal against Tampa Bay, it would nice to see a strong game from him as something to build on.

James Neal

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    James Neal has not gone too long without plunking one in the net so I look for him to tally one tonight.

Team Defense

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    The defense did not fare well against Tampa Bay Thursday, and before that a third period explosion helped cover up the fact that they did not look particularly strong against the Colorado Avalanche either.

    They are still missing Zbynek Michalek, who is probably the best defender on the team. Paul Martin has been getting brutalized by both fans and press for his struggle. Everybody else contributes with some foolishness here and there.

    Stabilizing the defensive performance is a must. No better time to start than now.

Dad's Trip Lineup Switches

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    The coaching staff usually looks to swap as many guys in an out of the lineup as possible on the trips where the guy's dads are present. Look for Richard Park to be back in and maybe even Brent Johnson in the cage.

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