NHL analyst Dana Lane isn't concerned about tonight’s starting goaltender or who will be healthy for the Penguins because uncertainty plays right into tonight’s wager.
Let’s address the two elephants in the room first. First, there is no way Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan doesn’t start Matt Murray. He is the better of the two net-minders and there is little doubt the Pens need something to motivate them. This game of not telling the media who will get the nod is nothing more than playoff gamesmanship.
Secondly, both teams have injuries. For the Senators it was confirmed this morning that Alex Burrows is a game-time decision, so don’t expect him to see him on the ice tonight. Coaches like to go with the GTD this time of year instead of saying a player’s out. His loss is a minor hit to their forward depth.
The Penguins are so banged up that they canceled their morning skate to give players more time to rest. Hopefully, the time off will inspire Pittsburgh who has scored just three goals in the first three games.
Unfortunately, in the Penguins case, there might not be enough inspiration to overcome the damage to their line-up.
Bryan Rust (UBI) did not participate in Thursday’s practice, he is being labeled as “not probable” for tonight, the same for Patric Horqvist.
Don’t expect defensemen, Justin Schultz, to play Friday as he's battling an upper body injury.
The injuries got so bad for Sullivan’s team that Mark Streit had to make his postseason debut, logging 15:30 of ice time. It was his first game since April 9th. Although Streit was credited with an assist, Pittsburgh was so desperate for bodies that Streit found himself on the top power play unit.
What does all this mean? It means a lot of guys doing things they’re not used to do, especially when you sprinkle in a potential goaltending change. When guys are asked to give more you’ve read my column enough to know I like to crush the ‘over’ for my NHL pick.