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New look lineups for Game 4

May 3, 2018, 1:04 PM ET [438 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Today was an optional morning skate so we did not get a look at the new line combinations. We did see Carl Hagelin take part with a full contact jersey on. Mike Sullivan has listed him as a game time decision. With Zach Aston-Reese presumably out for the remainder of the year after breaking his jaw it would be nice to have a player like Hagelin be able to step into the lineup.

Tom Wilson was suspended three games by the league. Zach Aston-Reese still has to drink through a straw for weeks because of the league’s negligence even if they finally doled out a suspension for Tom Wilson. I want to say I saw somewhere on Twitter that Tom Wilson is the first player to be suspended three times in a single season.

As far as the impact Wilson’s absence has on the Capitals it could go two different ways. If the Capitals decide to play Jakub Vrana in an elevated role with more minutes I think they have potential to actually be a better team without Wilson. If they promote Devante Smith-Pelly to the top line in what would be a classic Barry Trotz move this would help out the Penguins.

Daniel Sprong skated today and Mike Sullivan said something along the lines of the organization being really excited about him. It’s tough to take those words at face value when he spent the entire season rotting away in the AHL when the Penguins were suffering from woeful shooting percentage issues.

If Pittsburgh is going to make the Eastern Conference Finals they are going to need Matt Murray to play at his best and somehow get some scoring from lines that don’t have Sidney Crosby on them. I know Evgeni Malkin is capable of carrying a line. I don’t know if an unhealthy Phil Kessel can do the same. It appears Mike Sullivan is banking on Derick Brassard to find that boost. To this point it hasn’t worked.

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