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It's A Great Day for Hockey - May 11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
It's a Great Day for Playoff Hockey will be tracking the Penguins' Stanley Cup quest with constant updates throughout the postseason.

12:29 PM:
Here are some quotes from Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma's post-morning skate press conference:

On what he learned from losing Game 5 to Philadelphia with a chance to end the series at home:
"We had a chance to close (the series against Philadelphia) out and I think we all felt maybe it was going to happen and that caused us to lose some focus and attention to how we need to play (with) desperation.

"We’ve been behind in this series, and have been faced with going down 3-0, going on the road in Game 5 and facing going down 3-2. I think we have been faced with desperation in this series and we’ve had our backs somewhat against the wall and we know how that feels. We feel like we are still there and we need to feel like we are still there. That’s the difference between this Game 6 and the previous Game 5 in the first round. We have to have the level of desperation that we’ve had in the last three games to get the win here tonight."

On matching up Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill on Alex Ovechkin:
"Going into this series Scuderi and Gill knew what their role was going to be every time they stepped over the boards. On the road we worked to get that matchup as much as we could. At home we have a better chance of getting that matchup. But when you give them that focus, it’s a focus they’re comfortable with, it’s something they’ve owned for most of their careers and certainly it’s a tall task. (Washington is) a good team on the rush, not just Ovechkin. But maintaining a good gap and having the support of a good forward on that line, whoever it is and whatever line is playing out there with him, helps them to maintain that good gap. They both have good sticks, long sticks, and have done a good job against it. It’s a situation where if you laps one time and he gets one shot off from a good position, obviously you can see the results. They’ve done a great job and they need to continue to do a good job. We need help from the other people on the ice as well to make sure we can limit opportunities and limit space."

On Alex Goligoski:
"Goose (Gologoski) was comfortable back there on the power play. He not only knew the thing to do in the playoffs and in that situation but in overtime he dropped a head shake and threw it back to the halfwall. It’s a pretty confident move for his first playoff game in the National Hockey League."

On Marc-Andre Fleury:
"Marc-Andre Fleury has made huge saves for us. If you look at the first round, at key points he was the difference in that series with the toe save on (Jeff) Carter and with the (fourth) game in Philadelphia. Going on and on and on you need your goalie to be there night-in and night-out and sometimes it gets overlooked by different storylines. We all know on this team how important he is for us. We all know how big he is in that net. He has that ability and he continues to show that ability night-in and night-out. He’s a big part of our team for that reason."

12:05 PM:
Here are some quick roundup quotes from the Penguins' open locker room session following their morning skate. The buzz word of the day was "desperate."

Alex Goligoski on his first career playoff game in Game 5:
"There were definitely butterflys, definitely a little nervous coming into the game. I settled down a little bit as the game went on. It was good to get the first one under my belt. It was good to get my feet wet."

Ruslan Fedotenko on the Caps:
"They will be desperate. It's do-or-die for them. They'll throw everything that they have there. We just need to respond and be ready for it."
Fedotenko on the team's strategy when the Capitals press offensively:
"That's secret, secret stuff for us."

Rob Scuderi on blocking shots:
"It's a part of the game and if you're going to win a Stanley Cup you have to do those things."

Sidney Crosby on desperation:
"This is a position for both teams where our desperation has to be there to finish it and for them, they want to stay alive. You should see two desperate teams. We have to make sure we're matching. It's going to come down to who's more desperate and then execution. That's always the case in these types of games."

Jordan Staal on Donald Brashear's return:
"He'll create hits and momentum for their team. He does a good job of using his body well. It's something that we have to watch out for but at the same time, we're not going to change anything."

10:59 AM:
Here are a few interesting comments from Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau from his Monday morning media session:

On facing elimination:
"(I) know the group of guys (we) have and they care a lot. When people care a lot they don’t want to go home, they want to stat together. You get into elimination and there is definitely a finality to it if you don’t play your best so hopefully it will continue tonight."

On the heartbreaking overtime loss in Game 5:
"A loss is a loss for us right now. Whether we had lost 5-1 or in overtime, we’re in the same situation so we know what’s at stake."

On why the Penguins have been so successful:
"It’s pretty basic what they’re doing. They’re getting more pucks deep in our zone than we’re getting in their zone, and they’re controlling the play a little bit more, and they’re getting second shots. We’re not getting second shots. If we reverse that trend … maybe we’ll win another game."

On needing to win Game 6:
"By 10 o'clock if we don’t succeed we’re on vacation, and nobody wants to be on vacation."


10:52 AM:
If Gonchar does not play, coach Bylsma may opt to dress seven defensemen as he did in Game 5. Pittsburgh rotated through the seven blueliners and double shifted Crosby and Malkin (and occasionally Staal) on the fourth line.

The Penguins worked on their power play at the morning skate with Letang and Goligoski working the points and Crosby, Guerin and Malkin down low. The grouping scored twice against the Penguins' PK unit and moved the puck well. Let's hope that translates into the game. 

10:32 AM:
The Penguins' Monday morning skate is underway and there is no sign of defenseman Sergei Gonchar. The All-Star blueliner is still listed as day-to-day and will be a game-time decision.

Head coach Dan Bylsma said at yesterday's morning press conference that there was a possibility that Gonchar could skate either yesterday or today.


Author: Sam Kasan

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