-- Much like last year, the Pittsburgh Penguins
have compartmentalized their playoff run.
Rather than look too far ahead, the players have picked up coach Dan Bylsma
's mantra of the postseason being a race to four.
"We know that we're not competing for the Stanley Cup now," said Bylsma following Wednesday's practice prior to Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Ottawa Senators
(7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS). "We're competing to get four wins against the Ottawa Senators
. We're racing to four right now."
Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby
echoed those sentiments.
"I don't even think that far ahead," he said. "Coming into the playoffs last year I don't think we were thinking about the Final before Game 1. The right way to start would be to think about Game 1 and nothing past that."
For Crosby, staying in the moment means making sure his team finds a certain level of consistency that was missing for stretches during the regular season. While the Penguins haven't lost consecutive games since a five-game losing streak from Dec. 27 to Jan. 3, they've won back-to-back games in regulation just once -- March 6-7 -- since the Olympic break.
Crosby, however, said he isn't worried, owing to the fact that almost the entire team went through last season's Stanley Cup run, and there's still a good number of players that were on the team that lost to Detroit in the Final in 2008.
"Guys know what's coming up and want to prepare the right way," Crosby said. "That's going to be up to us. We'll see as they go on, hopefully we'll get more healthy and get guys back. That's something that's going to be up to us. We can talk about it all we want. Right now we have to make sure we start well.
"For us, we know what our game looks like, we know what it takes to be successful and it's a matter of doing it. It's more of just going out there and really focusing on those details."