6:47 PM:Evgeni Malkin
is the last Penguin to leave the ice after the team's warm up. Both teams are now in their dressing room and we are less than 20 minutes away from the start of Game 7.
Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar is on the ice for the team's pre-game warm up. We'll have to wait for the official word on the scratches, coming a little bit later. If nothing else though, it's nice to see him on the ice.
The Penguins tweaked some of their line combinations in Game 6 but as of today's morning skate, the team looks like it will start Game 7 back with the status quo. The combos that worked on the ice were:
____________________________________________________________________________________1:24 PM:Brooks Orpik
On playing Game 7 on the road:
"This is our second chance to close things out after blowing our opportunity last game. Down the stretch we were a pretty good team on the road. When you’re on the road it’s a hostile environment but at the same time you have less distractions. Some times it’s a little beneficial too."
Orpik also believes that turnovers will be the biggest factor in tonight's game:
"We don’t want to take credit away from them. They played well but we also beat ourselves. The mistakes we made were easily correctable. It’s not like they are doing stuff that is surprising us or unbelievable plays, it’s just mental breakdowns or turnovers. The turnovers are created by their team. Part of it’s on you for not getting the puck deep and part of its’ on them for forcing turnovers. It’s just puck management really."
____________________________________________________________________________________1:22 PM:Marc-Andre Fleury
On if Game 7 will be tightly played:
"With the two teams we have on the ice, it’s two offensive teams that like to score goals. We’ll see what will happen."
On the Capitals' shot selection in the series:
"Mostly high, especially the guys that can shoot the puck pretty good. They try to pick those corners. I try to be on top of my crease, cover the angle good and just try to stop it."
____________________________________________________________________________________1:20 PM:Sidney Crosby
talked about playing in his first Game 7 in the NHL:
"It’s a new experience. I’ve been in one-game (eliminations) before but not a Game 7. I’ve been in the type of situation where you win or go home. It’s an exciting situation to be in. We realize what’s at stake. Now we have to go out there and play a good game."
On how to play in a Game 7:
"You don’t want to be too tight. You have to make sure you execute and you move. Sometimes that’s the case. We’ll see tonight how it plays out. It’s kind of hard to predict that. It’s different for every guy. The main thing is to bring your best. However you do that, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’re more relaxed or more focused, it’s just a matter of bringing your best."
As expected, head coach Dan Bylsma did not tip his hand on whether or not Gonchar will play in Game 7. I guess we'll all have to wait until the official word comes out.
The morning skate is underway and defenseman Sergei Gonchar was once again on the ice for Pittsburgh. Gonchar participated
in Pittsburgh's optional practice yesterday - which was his first time on the ice since suffering a knee-to-knee hit from Alex Ovechkin in Game 4 last Friday. Gonchar ran through his normal morning skate routine as the Penguins rotated with eight blueliners. His playing status is still unknown for Game 7 tonight but he is currently listed as a game-time decision. We'll wait for the official word from head coach Dan Bylsma.
The Penguins arrived at the Verizon Center earlier in the day and are going to hold an 11:30 a.m. morning skate.
Let the countdown begin. We are approx. 8 hours away from puck drop in the epic Game 7 showdown between the Penguins and Capitals, and the grand finale to the most hyped, media frenzied and most anticipated second-round series of all time.
There's nothing like a Game 7 in professional sports. Two strong teams battled hard for two weeks and the series has yet to be decided. It all comes down to one game. This is where heroes are made, memories are made and anything can happen. The winner advances to the Eastern Conference Finals and the loser's season is over. It doesn't get more dramatic than this. When the night is over, everything will be different for both teams.
Author: Sam Kasan