With Penguins’ season on the line, Mike Sullivan cancels practice
What possibly was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ final practice of the season became not a practice at all Monday.
Though the team gathered Monday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, players did not take the ice on the eve of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series they trail 3-0. Instead, they met and watched some film in an effort to crack the code of beating a New York Islanders team that is on the verge of eliminating the Penguins on Tuesday.
Coach Mike Sullivan said that Monday the pre-series plan likely involved a cancelled practice for this day between Games 3-4. Monday would have been the team’s seventh consecutive day on the ice since an off day that followed the regular-season finale.
“We’ve also been in situations during the regular season and the month of March – one in particular where we played a lot of games every other day like we are now – and our team responded really well when we didn’t skate the day before,” Sullivan said. “We have some history there to draw on.
“We did discuss some things (Monday). I think it was productive.”
The Penguins played 16 games in March, going 10-3-3. They scheduled practiced just six days over that span. The stretch that Sullivan might have been referring to was March 11-14, when the Penguins beat first-place Washington 5-3 and won 5-0 at Buffalo on consecutive games during which they had an off day before each.
The Penguins have been outscored, 11-5, through three games of this series and are searching for a path to an unlikely comeback.
“Obviously at this point, I don’t know if it’s tactical; we just needed some rest,” defenseman Justin Schultz said. “And obviously just have to focus on winning one game.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .