PITTSBURGH - There's continued speculation what adjustments, if any, head coach Mike Sullivan will make going into tonight's Game 2 against the New York Islanders in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoff.
Sullivan made Penguins history, literally, by scratching a healthy Jack Johnson after he skated in all 82 regular season games.
Johnson was among the last off the ice Thursday when the team practiced at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island. This typically means the player will not play the following day in order to get more work in.
Morning skate underway here ON Long Island for the Penguins. pic.twitter.com/C0JyxaeQGb— Chase Williams WPXI (@chasepwilliams) April 12, 2019
"It's hard," Johnson told a few reporters Thursday. "Coach said I'm playing well, I've done everything they've asked of me. They just had to make a decision."
And that sentiment was echoed by Sullivan.
"It's not so much about keeping people happy," Sullivan explained. "Our coaching staff tries to communicate as honestly and straight forward as we can with our players."
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Once the lineups are decided, the Penguins, Sidney Crosby's top line in particular, need to set the tone by weathering what's going to be another raucous Islanders crowd.
"It's a playoff crowd," Crosby said. "They're into it and they got an early good start (In Game 1) and got their crowd into it. They were already pretty excited. You could tell from the drop of the puck, but they got some momentum early and got their crowd into it."
While the majority of this Penguins roster is no stranger to a hostile playoff environment, developing some momentum of their own, and early, would go a long way to evening up the series coming back to Pittsburgh.
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