Godric wrote:I'd throw the Crosby line against the Tavares line.
Tavares can't do anything when he doesn't have the puck
Neither team is especially devoted to line matching really. The Penguins seem to base their lines situationally rather than to match against opponents. And the Islanders aren't too far off that line of reasoning either I don't believe. They'll probably try to get their shutdown pairing (Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald) out there as much as they can against Crosby and Malkin as much as they possibly can and just hope that someone can support that. They'll probably bring center Frans Nielsen with them as much as they can as well...but if everyone's healthy, you can only do so much matching. If you really want to match, if I'm the Isles I also strive for Tavares vs. Crosby. Then Neilsen vs. Malkin.
Personally, I wouldn't go nuts with trying to play the line match game. I'd continue to do things situationally and then see if an adjustment needs to be made. I would want to get my puck possession hogs and/or punishers out there against Hamonic and AMac early in the series...make those first minutes their toughest and it will linger for the remainder of the series. Not because either of them can be intimidated, but because they're gonna need to play at least 25 minutes every night against our best...so I'd start by putting pucks in the LW corner and letting Kunitz blow one of them up (ala Timonen in, 2009 was it?). Hell, if I got an early icing, I'd even put out a Tanner Glass or Matt Cooke if he has his batteries charged and just try to get them to eat the puck for a little while if they can. Before resuming the Penguins more typical: icing = Malkin time tactic.