The Washington Capitals gained a spark in Game 5 after shifting around their lines. The Pittsburgh Penguins may do the same before Monday night’s critical Game 6 – including the potential reunion of one of the team’s most beloved trios of last year’s Stanley Cup run.
To put it in wrestling terms: Is it time for an HBK run-in during this heavyweight match?
“If we could find some of that scoring touch we had in the playoffs last year, we’d be happy,” said center Nick Bonino, who practiced on a line with Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel on Monday in Pittsburgh.
Coach Mike Sullivan said “there’s a possibility” that the famed trio would be put together in Game 6, and why not? They loomed rather large over Game 6 last season, when the three players accounted for all of Pittsburgh’s scoring in their 4-3 victory that eliminated the Capitals in the second round at home last year. That’s including an overtime game-winner from Bonino.
Hagelin and Kessel scored in the Penguins’ Game 5 loss. Kessel has three goals and two assists in five games. Bonino has a goal and an assist.
“I’ve played with everyone but Sid and Geno this year. A little bit more familiar with Phil and Hags,” said Bonino.
The Penguins will be without defenseman Trevor Daley, who was hit hard by Tom Wilson of the Capitals in Game 5. They also teased a shift in wings for Sidney Crosby, who had Conor Sheary skating with him as Jake Guentzel was lined up with Evgeni Malkin.
“He’s an important aspect of our game in a lot of ways. So dangerous on the power play, when he gets his game going 5-on-5, he can be really difficult to handle,” said Sullivan on Malkin. “We’re hoping he’s going to have the puck a lot more tonight.”
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