Penguins Notebook: Kennedy knows pain of blowing series lead
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To a man, the Penguins say they want to end their first-round playoff series against Philadelphia in Game 5 tonight at Mellon Arena, and they all seem to mean it.
But right winger Tyler Kennedy might understand the significance of closing out a series as quickly as possible a little better than most of his teammates.
He has, after all, experienced what it's like to be part of a team that was unable to do it. And paid dearly.
In the spring of 2005, Kennedy and Philadelphia center Jeff Carter were playing for Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Hockey League when the Greyhounds won the first three games of an opening-round series against Windsor.
The Spitfires managed to stave off elimination in Game 4, then sliced the Greyhounds' advantage to 3-2 with a victory in Game 5. Windsor pulled even by winning Game 6 and completed its improbable comeback by taking the series finale.
"It just slowly turned," Kennedy said. "They kind of got the momentum and kept on a roll. ... It was quite an eye-opener."
Kennedy was one of eight players to participate in an optional workout at Mellon Arena yesterday.
He was joined by forwards Max Talbot, Craig Adams, MiroslavSatan, Eric Godard and Pascal Dupuis, defenseman Philippe Boucher and goalie Mathieu Garon.
Dupuis, Kennedy, Adams and Talbot have played in all four games of the Philadelphia series, but Dupuis said going on the ice was an easy choice over a dryland workout.
"I love skating," he said. "I'd rather skate than ride the [stationary] bike."
The major-junior hockey career of Eric Tangradi, the power-forward prospect acquired from Anaheim in the Ryan Whitney trade, could end as early as tonight.
Tangradi's OHL team, Belleville, is down, 3-1, to Brampton in the Eastern Conference final, and the Battalion could lock up a spot in the championship round by beating the Bulls tonight in Belleville.
If the Bulls are eliminated, the Penguins almost certainly will have Tangradi join their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre for the balance of the Baby Penguins' playoff run.
Tangradi, a 6-foot-4, 221-pound left winger from Philadelphia, has eight goals and 13 assists in 15 playoff games.
Center Mike Zigomanis' recovery from shoulder surgery took another small step forward yesterday.
Zigomanis not only skated with conditioning coach Mike Kadar, which they began doing last week, but competed with him on some mock faceoffs.
Even though there are indications Zigomanis is progressing faster than expected, there's no firm evidence he will be able to participate in these playoffs, no matter how long the Penguins remain alive.
Zigomanis, acquired from Phoenix early this season, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the Penguins seem interested in trying to retain him.
The Penguins will have their first "whiteout" of the spring at the game tonight.
Fans will be given a white T-shirt when they enter the arena.
Also, the game will be shown on the large screen outside Gate 3 at Mellon Arena.
Game 6, if necessary, will not be shown there because that game is to be carried by NBC, which has a policy against its programming being carried on arena screens.
First Published April 23, 2009 12:00 am