There are no unimportant games come playoff time. But there are some games that are more important than others.
Could Wednesday night’s Game Three between the Penguins and Senators be one of those?
Taking a look at last season’s Calder Cup Playoffs, teams that won Game Three of a series went on to win 11 of the 15 matchups – that included three three-game sweeps in the best-of-five Conference Quarterfinals.
But don’t weigh head coach John Hynes down with statistics.
“There’s really no difference in the games,” he told reporters after Tuesday morning’s practice. “We want to try to win each one. Game three’s no different than game one.”
Still, when the Penguins have been tied 1-1 in a playoff series during their history, the winner of Game Three has gone on to win seven of nine times.
Pens forward Nick Drazenovic said that the further you go in a playoff series, the more intensity that follows.
“It elevates every game,” he stated. “Game Three ups the ante again. I think we’re ready for it.”
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIAL TEAMS
The Penguins have yet to score a power play goal in the series, going 0-for6 in Game One and 0-for-2 in Game Two. But Hynes isn’t too concerned about the lack of goals with the extra man.
“We’ve had chances,” he said. “Any time you get in a situation where you don’t score, whether it’s five-on-five or on the power play, when you start talking about scoring, then guys start to press.
“It’s just focus on the process and make good smart decisions, and find a way to get the puck to the net. We feel we did that, but it didn’t go in for us. We just have to continue to do the right things.”
On the other side of the puck, the Senators have gone 3-for-7 on the man advantage, although they did allow a shorthanded goal to Andrew Ebbett in Game One.
“We know that their strength is their power play, and we need to stay out of the box as much as we can,” Drazenovic said. “They’ve got a lot of skilled players over there and take advantage of the extra man.”
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