PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping that a room full of Cs translates into some Ws during their Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Penguins made a point of wearing specially-designed playoff T-shirts that feature a "C" on the front following their morning skate before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday.
James Neal said they did it for a reason.
On Jan. 13, the Penguins wore taped-on Cs on their practice jerseys during their morning skate in advance of that night's game at Florida. They did so as a sign of team unity -- and to support then-injured team captain Sidney Crosby -- following a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report that the players had discussed appointing a fill-in captain if Crosby could not return.
Forward Pascal Dupuis, one of the Penguins' most-tenured players, suggested the players wear the Cs.
The Penguins went on to secure a 4-1 victory over the Panthers that not only ended a six-game losing streak but launched them on an eight-game winning streak. From that point, they finished the season with a 30-8-2 record to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference with 108 points, only one point behind the Atlantic Division- and conference-leading New York Rangers.
As the Penguins attempt to bounce back from squandering a 3-0 lead during a 4-3 loss to Philadelphia in Game 1 on Wednesday, the players felt it was the right time to wear the T-shirts, which they have shown off several times since they were released two weeks ago.
"When we were going through a little slump there and when we had a controversy with Sid and that little stuff kind of brought our team back together," Neal said. "We turned a little losing streak around into a winning streak and it kind of brought back some good memories. It's something we pride ourselves in."
Coach Dan Bylsma wasn't aware of any team-unity display by his players.
"That's a playoff T-shirt they made and there's more than one or two themes on the shirt," Bylsma said.
But it's the black "C" on the right shoulder of the gray T-shirt that stands out most.
"That's why we're wearing them today," Neal said.
There's also this: The Penguins first wore the Cs on a Friday the 13th in Florida. The day of Game 2 against the Flyers also is a Friday the 13th. So maybe the Penguins are more than a little bit superstitious.