Penguins notebook: Despres cracks lineup again
Despres cracks lineup again
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Simon Despres really did impress coaches in Game 5.
His performance then — a hit, a takeaway and two blocks in about 14 mintues — earned him a spot in the Penguins lineup for Game 6 at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night.
Despres was scratched for Game 4 on Tuesday night after a rough outing in Game 3 last Sunday. He played only five minutes in Game 3 and was on the ice for two goals allowed.
However, Despres was much better in Game 5 at Consol Energy Center on Thursday night. He was paired with top defenseman Kris Letang in that game. The defense pairings were jumbled for much of the opening period in Game 6, even though the Penguins' lineup remained the same as for Game 5.
Coach Dan Bylsma said he wanted a better start from the Penguins in Game 6 than in Games 3 and 4 at Nassau Coliseum. He opened with the Penguins' new top line — Pascal Dupuis on the left wing with center Sidney Crosby and right winger Jarome Iginla.
However, that line was forced to play most of its first shift in the defensive zone. An inadvertent icing with just one minute and 19 seconds into the game forced Bylsma to use his lone regulation timeout.
Defenders on the ice for an icing must stay on for the next faceoff, and Bylsma called the timeout to give the Crosby line a breather. The Islanders did not score on the next shift, but they eventually opened the scoring for the third consecutive game at Nassau Coliseum.
Iginla answered Islanders center John Tavares' opening goal in Game 6, pulling the Penguins even 2:03 after Tavares' goal. Before that sequence, the Penguins had answered an Islanders' goal within three minutes on four previous occasions in Game 1-5.
Center Evgeni Malkin had played about 15 minutes Thursday in Game 5, but Bylsma said Saturday that there was no injury-related reason for his reduction in ice time.
— Rob Rossi