The most obvious way for the Pens to win Game 7 tonight is to avoid giving up the first goal -- the crowd, fanbase, and entire city is eager to turn on this team and will do so immediately and viciously if the Pens give them any reason to. Make no mistake about it: we count ourselves among this group. Finesse has already traded Kris Letang to Edmonton in his head six times this morning.
But there's still a game to play, and so the Pens might as well play to win. And to do that, here is the forward lineup I'm submitting tonight, because these should have been the lines in Game 6:
Malkin and Crosby lost whatever spark they had together earlier in the series in Game 5. They've been horrific defensively, they've given the defensemen no puck support on the breakout, and they've been overpassing to an embarrassing degree. Pairing them is no longer necessarily playing to a strength.
Time for Dan Bylsma and the coaches to swallow this pill: their best forward this series aside from Malkin has been Brian Gibbons. He is absolutely torching the Rangers with his speed and does more with 10 minutes of playing time than Crosby has done in 20. If you split Sid and Geno - which is an obvious move at this stage - and your job is on the line, you better ride that little mini-pony for all he's worth. Side benefit: you might just get James Neal untracked after he finally showed some hunger to get to the net in the latter part of Game 6.
|You ride this pony until this pony don't ride no more.|