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away from the Giroux Couturier line that has been very effective

  • Leader
    April 10, 2018
    Some good news today from the Penguins first on ice practice in
    preparation for the series against the Philadelphia Flyers Derick
    Brassard was back as a normal participant.

    Brassard was starting to fit in with the Pens before injuring his
    groin during a game against Detroit on March 27th. Prior to that game,
    the center was on a six game point streak 2g 4a and really finding his
    way with the club that acquired him in February from Ottawa.

    This return is great news for the Penguins who are at virtually full
    strength entering the playoffs. The only injury Carter Rowney, wrist,
    still not practicing is a completely replaceable one that Zach Aston
    Reese will fill in for on the 4th line, and probably be a better player
    in all regards.

    From the other side of the commonwealth the Flyers had a practice of their own this morning

    What stands out is that Travis Konecny has remained away from the
    Giroux Couturier line that has been very effective over the second half
    of the season. That trio has played almost 500 minutes together this
    season and has a Corsi percent near 55 elite! and has been on ice for 33
    Goals For to 19 Goals against, per Natural Stat Trick. They were
    recently broken apart and appear to be separate entering Game 1.

    By bumping Konecny to the third line, the Flyers move their 4th
    highest scoring forward 24g 23a to balance the skill of the top three
    lines. This move is very familiar to a Pittsburgh esque way to spread
    the scoring around as we have successfully seen Sidney Crosby, Evgeni
    Malkin and Phil Kessel all on different lines for the majority of the
    last two playoffs. Switch Raffl and Konecny above and the 3rd line
    becomes Wayne Simmonds and not much else. Now there are two real scoring
    threats for Philly on all three of their top lines.

    The hope for Pittsburgh would have to be some of the supporting
    players chiefly Michael Raffl and Valterri Filppula don’t hold up their
    end of the bargain and weaken the ability of players like Giroux,
    Konency and Simmonds to be effective and generate goals at even
    strength. If so, the lines will surely get shuffled and more stacked
    with skill, but by that point hopefully Philly will be behind by multiple goals or games! in the series.

    So the placement of what line Travis Konecny is on will be an
    interesting one to monitor as a sub plot of the Pittsburgh/Philly
    series. As of now, when both 3rd lines are on the ice it could be fairly
    even but very critical in the course of how the series will play out.
    For the Pens Brian Dumoulin Jersey, that starts with a healthy Brassard and apparently a healthy Brassard we shall see on Wednesday night for Game 1.