The Red Wings are the foe Monday for the Penguins and the Washington Capitals are on the docket Wednesday. To Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, they are welcomed tests.
"We're trying to be the best team that we can be," Bylsma told Jason Seidling of the team's Web site. "We're trying to be an elite team. We have areas that we need to work on. We address those and talk about those, and we get challenges against Detroit and going into Washington on Wednesday."
"This is going to be a good test," Sidney Crosby agreed. "We have to get our game where it needs to be going down the stretch. You don't want to try to turn it on when you get to the playoffs. It has to be something that is already there for us. ... It's good playing these good teams because that is when these habits will show."
Monday's visit to Joe Louis Arena was the first for the Penguins since they won the Stanley Cup in June.
"I think every guy will be different," Crosby said of the memories the return will evoke. "I am sure that will cross your mind when you first get there. I think pretty quickly you get focused on the game and don't think about that stuff."
"We have good memories there," Bill Guerin said. "We have to put that behind us. We need this game and we need to play well. We definitely have great memories but last year was then and we really need to start playing better and that is where it starts."