Backup Pens goalie Johnson hopes to dress for Game 4
Penguins backup goalie Brent Johnson practiced Sunday morning at Scotiabank Place, but he did not dress for Game 3 of this first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Ottawa Senators. Johnson said he is optimistic of dressing for Game 4 on Tuesday night. He acknowledged seeing several doctors over the past couple of weeks as he battled dehydration, nausea and fatigue — flu-like symptoms that Johnson said he feared represented mononucleosis. Physicians have ruled out that diagnosis. Brad Thiessen served as backup to Penguins starter Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 3.
Leopold out until at least Game 5
Defenseman Jordan Leopold is not in Ottawa with the club, and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Leopold continues to undergo evaluations in Pittsburgh. The team has not listed his injury, though Leopold is believed to have been concussed by a hit from Ottawa defenseman Andy Sutton during the first period of Game 2 Friday night. Footage of that hit was cheered by Senators fans last night when it was shown on the video board. Jay McKee replaced Leopold in the lineup for Game 3. Ben Lovejoy, recalled from the AHL on Saturday, served as the club's extra defenseman.
Healthy Penguins not in the lineup included: Lovejoy, and wingers Eric Godard and Ruslan Fedotenko. The Senators were without the following healthy players: wingers Shean Donovan; center Joshua Hennessy; defensemen Jared Cowen, Derek Smith and Brian Lee; and goalie Mike Brodeur.
Tickets for Game 5
Approximately 1,500 available tickets for Game 5 Thursday will go on sale today at 10 a.m. Purchases can be made at Ticketmaster.com, all Tickemaster locations or by calling (800) 745-3000. Also, fans can purchase tickets at the Mellon Arena Gate One box office. The game is at 7 p.m.
LETANG IT LOOSE
Defenseman Kris Letang had scored five goals in 41 career Stanley Cup playoff games before Game 3 of the Penguins' first-round series against Ottawa on Sunday night. A look at the Penguins' all-time goal scoring from defensemen in the playoffs:
Larry Murphy: 15 goals/74 games
Randy Carlyle: 6 goals/22 games
Ron Stackhouse: 5 goals/32 games
Sergei Gonchar: 5 goals/49 games*
*Before Game 3
Penguins C Sidney Crosby, on whether Ottawa's fans would take it easier on him in Games 3 and 4 at Scotiabank Place because of his gold-medal winning goal for Team Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics:
"Uh, yeah, I don't think it will make any difference. I don't expect ... Nah, nothing, I don't expect any of that."
Penguins D Ben Lovejoy on being recalled to the Penguins for the Stanley Cup playoffs after playing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL's Calder Cup playoffs:
"It's definitely nerve racking, and the preparation is definitely very similar. Everything we've done at Wilkes-Barre is to prepare us for this."
Senators coach Cory Clouston on several seconds of silence at the Scotiabank Place media room that occurred after a team official asked for questions:
CAMPING OUT IN THE CREASE
While some were searching for hyperbolic descriptions of Sidney Crosby's cycling behind the net that set up the winning goal in Game 2, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was in awe of winger Bill Guerin.
Guerin positioned himself near the right corner of the net despite the presence of 6-foot-6, 250-pound Ottawa defenseman Andy Sutton, providing a perfect screen for Kris Letang's shot from the right point.
"Guerin should get an assist for that," Orpik opined.
Camping out on the crease is critical in the Stanley Cup playoffs, even if teams have different objectives or get contrasting results. Going into Game 3, the Ottawa Senators had scored five of their six goals off rebounds, while the Penguins scored five of their six on mid-range or long-range shots.
"Goals in the playoffs a lot of times are ugly ones or tips," Ottawa center Jason Spezza said. "If you look at other games, they're shots that you don't think normally go in. You've got to get pucks on net."
The Senators' strategy is to shield Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from seeing shots, so they can score on screens or rebounds.
"If he sees everything," Spezza said, "he's going to stop them."
And if the goalies don't see the puck, it increases scoring chances.
"Those goals are more common in the playoffs," Guerin said. "You find guys going to the net and paying the price a little bit more. There are very few pretty goals in the playoffs. Most are the result of hard work and paying the price."
History cannot always be trusted to predict a playoff series outcome. However, before this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series, the Senators had gone 0-7 when losing Game 3 and 8-4 when winning a series' third game.