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Penguins, Blue Jackets coaches ponder improvements for Game 2

Jonathan Bombulie
| Friday, April 14, 2017 1:15 p.m
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella on the bench during a game against the Penguins Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
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Penguins coach Mike Sullivan talks to an official during the third period against the Sabres on Sunday, March 5, 2017.

Mike Sullivan and John Tortorella are known as coaches with big personalities who aren’t shy about putting their imprint on a team.

Both, however, vowed to more or less get out of the way when the Penguins and Blue Jackets square off in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Friday night.

Both teams have areas where they can improve, of course.

After being outshot 16-3 in the first period of Game 1 Wednesday night, the Penguins want to ramp up their possession game.

After spending much of their time in the offensive zone on the perimeter, the Blue Jackets want to get to the dangerous areas of the ice more frequently.

The coaches will obviously touch on those points when talking to their teams before faceoff, but they both promised to let the players play.

“You don’t want to turn them into robots out there,” Sullivan said. “That’s the fine line. One of the greatest things about our game is its instinctive play. It’s a player’s game. It’s not really a chess match. It never happens on the ice how we draw it up in the room or on the rink board. It’s a player’s ability to be instinctive and see things in a timely fashion and be able to execute that separates the best from others.”

Tortorella said he didn’t want to do anything to get in the way of his team’s physical DNA.

“When you lose your first game, I think your identity is more to the forefront than anything,” he said. “We’re not going to lose who we are. We’re going to go about our business.”

For the Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal for the second straight game while Matt Murray recovers from a lower-body injury. Tristan Jarry will be his back-up.

Trevor Daley and Bryan Rust, who did not practice Thursday due to maintenance, were back on the ice at Friday’s morning skate and are on track to play in Game 2. No lineup changes are expected for the Penguins.

For Columbus, Tortorella has the option of replacing either former Penguins prospect Scott Harrington or rookie Gabriel Carlsson with veteran Kyle Quincey or Markus Nutivaara to revamp his third defense pair, but he has given no indication he plans to do so.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review NHL/Penguins reporter. You can contact Jonathan via Twitter .

Categories: Penguins
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