How To Beat the (Reigning Champs) Pittsburgh Penguins


7:00 PM ET

Sportsnet East

FanSided Enemy: Pens Labyrinth

Tonight, Les Senateurs open a 2-game road trip on the East Coast. Tonight, they visit the somewhat friendly confines of Mellon Arena for a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins. This will be the 3rd game of a 4-game season series against the Pens. The first game game went to Pittsburgh 4-1, while Ottawa exacted revenge and dominated the Penguins en route to a 6-2 victory in the 2nd game. So far Milan Michalek and Chris Phillips have led the charge for Ottawa against Pittsburgh, while Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy have lead the charge for Pittsburgh.

1. Do everything possible to shutdown Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
One thing the Senators D have done very well this season is shutdown the all-world tandem of Sid the Kid/Wiz and Geno. They will have to continue that tonight to find success.  Crosby is a guy that will quietly go down the ice and make that sweet saucer pass to the sniper, Malkin, where can can get it to the net. Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov know these guys and they can stop them like before.

2. Watch out for Kennedy-Staal-Cooke
This line dominated in the first meeting between these two teams and will be back at it tonight. Tyler Kennedy has been known to play his best against the Senators, so watch out for him. Jordan Staal’s long reach is something to behold as well, add in the grit of Matt Cooke and this may be the best third line in all of hockey. The pairing of Picard-Carkner should be given the job to stop these guys, which I hope they can do.

3. Get shots on Marc-Andre Fleury
Even though Fleury is destined to become the third-string for Team Canada in Vancouver, he is beatable. The one thing Ottawa did very good in their 6-2 domination win over the Pens is that they got shots on Fleury early and rattled him a bit. Marc-Andre has a bit on tendency from watching his career to get out of game when he goes down early, so that must be a priority for Cory Clouston to spread amongst the forwards tonight.

Chris Neil will be back in the lineup tonight on the right wing with Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Kelly on the third line. Shean Donovan will play on the left wing with Jesse Winchester and Ryan Shannon on the fourth line. Surprising (and quick) comeback for Dono. It shows how much heart and how much he means to this team. Peter Regin will centre the top line with Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson while Jonathan Cheechoo plays left wing with Mike Fisher and Alex Kovalev. Pascal Leclaire gets the start. I don’t have a prediction for tonight as it could go either way, but I think Ottawa’s good track record at Mellon Arena will continue.