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Pens say 'never bad to rest'

by Staff

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot knows the importance of momentum, but says "sometimes it's good to just relax a little bit."
PITTSBURGH -- With momentum now on their side, one would think the Penguins don't want to wait two full days to play another game in the Stanley Cup Final.

But the Penguins don't seem to mind having two full days off to relax and unwind before the series resumes Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio).

"Yes it would have been fun because, obviously, I think we have momentum on our side and that huge in the Stanley Cup Final, but sometimes it's good to just relax a little bit," Penguins forward Maxime Talbot said. "We have a little more time to rest and think about the next game. We want to get back out there, but it's never bad to get rest."

-- Dan Rosen

Hurtin' Holmstrom -- Tomas Holmstrom did not return after a collision with Penguins defenseman Hal Gill with about five minutes to play in the third period of Game 3. His status for Saturday night is unknown.

"I didn't see him this morning," coach Mike Babcock said. "After the game, he didn't feel too good. The good thing is we have today to look at it and see how he is tomorrow, and then we'll move ahead from there."

-- Brian Compton

Sykora struggling -- Petr Sykora hasn't scored a goal since the first period of Game 1 against Philadelphia and he hasn't had a point since Game 3 of that series. He's also a minus-2 in the Stanley Cup Final.

But coach Michel Therrien hardly seems concerned about his No. 2 right winger who spends a lot of time on the ice with Evgeni Malkin, another player who has just one goal in the last seven games.

"He's a goal scorer," Therrien said. "He won't need about 10 scoring chances to put the puck in the net. That's a good thing."

-- Dan Rosen

Orpik the rage -- There was a lot of talk Thursday about the physical play of Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, specifically on one shift midway through the third period.

With his team leading, 3-1, Orpik had arguably the best shift of his career. With the puck in the Penguins defensive zone Orpik had four-straight hits in a 14-second span, first on Kris Draper, then two knocks on Dallas Drake, and finally a lick on Dan Cleary.

"The opportunity was there, and when it's there, this time of the year you really want to make them pay," Orpik said. "But like I said, that's kind of my role on the team. It's something we can just energize the team and crowd with."

Orpik, who said he was hearing from a lot of his teammates after the game regarding that shift, explained why it's important to make those hits pay against the Red Wings in particular.

"A lot of people say they're experienced, but they do have a lot of older guys on their team," he said. "So, I think the more you can pound on them, it definitely takes its toll toward the end of the series."

-- Dan Rosen

O Captain, our captain -- ­­ Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom is two wins away from becoming the first European to serve as captain on a Stanley Cup-winning team.

Lidstrom got the "C" when Steve Yzerman retired after the 2005-06 season. Longtime teammate Kris Draper maintains there are lots of similarities between the two.

"When Stevie decided to retire, it was a no-brainer who was going to be the next captain of this hockey club," Draper said. "And (Lidstrom is) very similar to Stevie about how he carries himself on and off the ice. What he does is he just goes out and leads by example, with playing at a high level, game in, game out."

Draper also feels Lidstrom has grown into the "C."

"Nick has become a little bit more vocal," he said. "As a leader of the team, obviously he feels there's sometimes, some situations where he has to say something. He doesn't say a lot.  He's not a rah-rah kind of guy. But just like Stevie and a lot of the great leaders, when they speak, everyone listens."

-- John Kreiser
Wings' Game 4 struggles -- Game 4 has been a trouble spot for the Detroit Red Wings over the years.

The Wings are 40-51 in their 91 Game 4s, and their .440 winning percentage is their worst in any game. That includes two losses in three tries this year, all of which have been played on the road. The Wings lost Game 4 in the opening round at Nashville and in the Western Conference Finals at Dallas. Their lone Game 4 win this year came when they completed a four-game sweep at Colorado.

The only other game in which the Wings are below .500 is Game 5 – they are 33-35.

-- John Kreiser

Penguins' Game 4 struggles -- Detroit isn't the only team that has had its problems in Game 4.

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to tie the Stanley Cup Final with a win at home in Game 4 Saturday night. But history isn't with them. The Penguins are 17-22 all-time in Game 4, but just 6-11 when playing at home.

The Penguins are 1-2 in Game 4 this season, with all three games on the road. They won 3-1 at Ottawa to complete a first-round sweep, but lost 3-0 to the New York Rangers and 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers.

In all, the Penguins have lost the last seven times they've played a Game 4 at home. The last time they won was 1997, when they beat Philadelphia 3-1 to avoid being swept. The Flyers won Game 5 to close out that series.

-- John Kreiser

Not working overtime -- After 15 games went into overtime during the first two rounds of this year's playoffs, the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final have been overtime-free.

None of the 11 conference final games or the three games in the Final has gone past regulation. That hasn't happened since 1997, when all 15 games played were decided without going into an extra period.

There hasn't been an overtime game in the Final since Edmonton's 4-3 victory over Carolina in Game 5 in 2006.

Detroit and Pittsburgh each played one overtime game in the first two rounds. The Wings beat Nashville 2-1 in Game 5 of the first round; the Penguins eliminated the New York Rangers with a 3-2 win in Game 5 of the second round.

-- John Kreiser

Tennis anyone -- Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik wasn't worried before or after Game 3 after the Detroit Red Wings won the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals in Detroit.

"I remember someone smart once telling me that a series never gets more interesting than when a team breaks service on the other team's ice," he said.

For the record, the Penguins are 9-0 -- 17-0 at Mellon Arena dating back to a 2-1 February 24 shootout loss against San Jose.

So, you could say the real score in this match is 3-love and the next service is Game 4 Saturday in Pittsburgh home court.

-- Larry Wigge

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