Penguins Insider: No. 3 line reflects coach Bylsma
As a player, Dan Bylsma made it to and stayed in the NHL because of his mind and muscle.
As a coach, Bylsma is seeking a second championship knowing full well his most effective line did not produce a goal in the Penguins' 5-0 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Friday at Consol Energy Center, and Bylsma gladly will take another no-goal performance from his third line — if, that is, its components match their opening performance.
Islanders center John Tavares — a finalist on this voter's Hart Trophy ballot — was marked by Penguins wingers Brenden Morrow and Matt Cooke, who hit Tavares whenever possible in Game 1.
Tavares finished without a shot in his first playoff game.
He can expect more shots from Morrow and Cooke in Game 2.
Morrow is as brutish a hitter as Cooke is calculating.
Each winger leaves a mark that lingers. Morrow's hits hurt physically. Cooke's don't feel good, but his reputation as an on-the-edge hitter messes with opposing players' minds.
“Together they make a formidable, physical presence that is a pretty good characteristic of that line,” Bylsma said of Morrow and Cooke.
Center Brandon Sutter has the mind to make use of his wingers' muscle.
A high-IQ player who is opportunistic offensively and stifling defensively, Sutter has quickly learned to read off Morrow and Cooke. He lurks in the defensive and neutral zones, almost as if he is hunting space that opposing forwards erroneously presume is available.
When these three components are clicking — as they have most of the past three weeks — they are a true shutdown element because they can physically beat down opposing forwards and break down opposing coaches' game plans.
Bylsma began training camp in January by acknowledging the Penguins had lacked a third-line identity in recent underachieving postseasons.
They have one now, and he will keep this third line together as long as his players' health allows.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title