NHL Insider: Bylsma hopes seven-game scenario during regular season helped Pens
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Dan Bylsma had Tuesday night in mind last summer.
That is when Bylsma, obsessed with better preparing the Penguins after losses to lower-seeded opponents in three consecutive playoff series, decided to play the regular season in seven-game segments.
In the past, Bylsma had segmented the regular-season into 10-game blocks in which he challenged players to achieve team goals — for example, 90 percent on the penalty kill — over that span.
A Stanley Cup playoff series is a best-of-seven affair, and Bylsma sought to drive that point home this past season.
“As we went through the season, we were in these scenarios,” Bylsma said after an optional practice Monday.
“We made note of every Game 7 we played, every Game 1. When a situation arose where we were playing Game 3 on the road, it was, ‘That's how it's going to be in the playoffs.' So playing Game 3 on the road in a tough building ... it wasn't the first time we had done that in our minds.”
The Penguins, of course, won Game 3 — the real one — on the road Sunday afternoon. They carry a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday.
For what it is worth, during the regular season they went 1-1 when taking a 2-1 lead into a Game 4-like situation.
Bylsma is not the first coach to try this seven-game approach in season. Jacques Martin used it when he ran the bench for the Ottawa Senators.
Had there been a full 82 games during the regular season, Bylsma likely would not have started the seven-game segmentation until the second half of the season. He said going with the approach over 82 games might have given players a reason to tune out the message.
The message was received, veteran forward Craig Adams said Monday. He noted the Penguins' overwhelming success in their regular-season series.
The Penguins played six seven-game and a six-game series during the regular season. They won each series — sweeping four, and taking one apiece in five, six and seven games.
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.
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Penguins notebook: Players prepared for tough schedule in minors
- Penguins 4th line is showing promise
- Starkey: Farewell to NHL fighting
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- For ex-Penguin Martin, different city, same story
- Penguins notebook: Dupuis’ intangibles provide 1st-line value