Ah, game 3. No matter what the series is at, it’s a crucial game. It can break a 1-1 tie, bury a team who was already down 2-0, or give a team new hope who are beginning the climb out of the hole, keeping the series close at 2-1.
For the Penguins and the Lightning, this game is the former.
A few keys for tonight’s game:
Special Teams: The Lightning must capitalize in what may be their most potent unit on the ice. They must take advantage of these opportunities as the Penguins were the most penalized team in the regular season (Game 1 aside). On the other end, they have to be sure to not let the Pens PP get going. They are struggling offensively and can gain momentum with the extra man.
Keep up the Pressure: In Game 2 the Lightning had great pressure. They kept pucks down low and got them to the net, causing Fleury a lot of distress. Having the puck in their end is mentally draining for a goaltender. They must always be in position with their eye on the puck when it’s within their zone. The more zone time, the more Fleury will be flustered. The Bolts were able to capitalize on this last game and walked away victorious.
Keep Home Ice Emotions in Check: Penalties killed the Lightning in Game 1. Now they will be at home, and it will be very excited for a playoff inexperienced team. They can’t let their emotions get the best of them. They have to play their home games like road games. If they do that, they will be great. The Penguins will try to goad them into penalties to throw them off, but the Bolts can’t bite if they want to be successful.
Get Up For It: That being said, home ice is nothing to be scared of. The key is to play it like a road game. If they use that discipline and add the energy the crowd will create, they can go up in this series. They need to let themselves get amped up while making sure they don’t get involved in too many extracurriculars.
Puck drop is at 7:30.
Note: the Admirals won again last night, beating the Baby Pens 2-0. They stole both games in Wilkes-Barre Scranton and will continue the series tomorrow night at 7:15 in Virginia.