A few eyebrows were raised when Dan Bylsma inserted Deryk Engelland into the lineup for Game 1 against the Senators Tuesday. Engelland's previous playoff appearance saw him have a rough outing in Game 2 in the quarterfinal round against the Islanders in which he took two penalties, one of which led to a power-play goal for New York.
Tuesday against Ottawa, Engelland was teamed with Douglas Murray. The duo provided some toughness for the Penguins, especially against the Senators' feisty fourth line of Matt Kassian, Chris Neil and Zack Smith.
Yesterday, Engelland talked about his role in this series:
How do you match up against that fourth line?
"If you take a look at their fourth line, they’ve got some toughness there. They can play and they bring toughness. (I want) to go out there and match up against those guys and make sure they’re not running around too much. Play physical against them and wear down and get pucks to our forwards so they can get them in the [offensive] zone."
How do you combat someone like Neil when he tries to mix it up with Sidney Crosby as he did late in Game 1?
"You know it’s going to come. It’s part of his job. He’s got to play physical. Obviously Sid sees everything the way he plays. He gets out of the way of most hits. You just kind put it in the back of your mind."
Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said his team didn't go to the net enough in Game 1. Would you expect that to change in Game 2?
"They definitely will go to the net harder, get more traffic in front of [Tomas Vokoun] and make it more difficult on us. I don’t think they played the way they did last series [against Montreal] so we’re expecting them to come out a lot harder."
With newer interference rules, how can you keep them away from the net?
"Get into them early in the corner. If you bump into them there, it takes longer for them to get to the net. Just get in the way. Try to clear them out of the way as much as you can to let [Vokoun] see [shots]."
The penalty kill struggled in the regular season but has been excellent in the postseason. What has changed?
"I think we’ve changed a little bit. We’re a little more aggressive. I think guys were figuring out the system still during the season and now, we’ve tweaked a few things. Now, we’re playing a lot more on our toes than sitting back."
(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)