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Rossi: Pens look for rare home-ice hold

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Numbers do lie. That is one of the first things a journalist learns. Numbers can be manipulated, at least the presentation of them, to fit any narrative. This is probably worth keeping in mind as the Stanley Cup playoff progress, especially when it comes to Games 2 and 5 for a best-of-seven series. Usually, the winners of those games take the series.

The Penguins lost Games 2 and 5 at Detroit in 2009 and still won the Stanley Cup.

Trends exist to be gone against.

Consider the Penguins, who once dominated on home ice in the playoffs – especially early in series. From 2008-09, they went 15-1 in the first two series games played in Pittsburgh. Their lone loss came in their only series defeat. They dropped Game 4 at Mellon Arena against Detroit in 2008. The Red Wings took a 3-1 series lead, and that was basically that regarding the Cup.

Mostly, though, during the Cup Final runs, the Penguins either essentially ended a series by going up, 2-0, or – as was the case against Washington and Detroit in 2009 – evened the series by sweeping Games 3 and 4 at home.

The Penguins are playing their eighth series since last winning the Cup. They are trying to win the opening games at home for only the second time.

Taking firm control and making home ice a true advantage – that is before the Penguins for Game 2 against Columbus on Saturday night.

Now, to get you ready for the action…

 

>> Josh Yohe reports that some Cup veterans are again calling for improved discipline from the Penguins: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5947674-74/penguins-orpik-game#axzz2zLQahD5i

 

>> Jason Mackey spied an all-time Penguins great in the dressing room on Friday: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5947681-74/bennett-game-stempniak#axzz2zLQahD5i

 

>> Contributor Craig Merz, from Columbus, on Sergei Bobrovsky’s rebound attempt: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5947683-74/bobrovsky-game-columbus#axzz2zLQahD5i

 

>> Kris Letang offered contrition, but coach Dan Bylsma wants more – as in a resurrection of his 2009 form: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5947679-74/letang-bylsma-game

 

>> The “Insider” looks at the Penguins’ power-play plan, which actually was not changed by Letang’s off Game 1: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5948380-74/power-penguins-letang#axzz2zLQahD5i

Puck drops around 7 p.m.

Be EXCELLENT to each other,

Rossi

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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