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Penguins Report: 4/12/12

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • New look and strategy for PP (2:36 PM).
  • Mears' playoff update (2:45 PM).
  • Power-play tweaks (11:42 AM).
  • Pens get back to work (2:42 PM).
  • Pens' lines/D-pairs (11:18 AM).
  • Only Niskanen missing from practice (11:15 AM).
  • Flyers hold optional skate (1:18 PM).
  • Pens spirits high at practice (11:30 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Letang, the OT goal & more (1:48 PM).
  • Crosby, Neal & Orpik spit knowledge (2:50 PM).
  • Pens pics (2:30 PM).
  • “It’s just one game…” (10:00 AM).

2:50 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On if it’s easy to put Wednesday’s loss behind them:
Sort of. I think today you come to practice and try to adjust or make changes in things you want to do better going into the game (Friday). We know that that game’s over and we’ve got to make sure we’re better.

On Danny Briere’s first goal being offsides:
It affected the game, but at the end of the day there is nothing that (we can do). Worrying about it and thinking about it is not going to change anything. It’s over and there are a lot of other things that went on that are in our control that we could have been better at. Our focus is on that.

On what enabled the Flyers’ comeback:
We just got away from our game. Unfortunately we had that 3-0 lead and we really just stopped doing those little things that you need to do- getting pucks deep, managing the puck. They had a lot of time at that point to get opportunities to get back in the game. There were different things, but it’s over. There is nothing we can do now. We’ve got to make sure we play a full hockey game here on Friday.

James Neal

On Danny Briere’s first goal being offsides:
Yeah, it’s an unfortunate call. That gave them a lot of momentum and got them going in the right direction. It’s going to happen. (The referees are) not perfect. They are going to make calls like that.  We just have to deal with it and keep going forward.

On how the team prevents a loss from lingering:
You just put it behind you as quick as possible. Good teams do that. Guys that have been through this and been through series like this know that the better and the faster put stuff like that behind you, it’s only going to help you.

On the morale in the locker room Wednesday night:
It’s disappointing. It’s the same story, you know? We get up on them, we come out and we play our game and have a great first period and into the second, then we go a little stale and start turning pucks over and they countered. They’re a good team. It’s going to happen. But when you play them that hard and you’re physical on them and you’re doing the right things and you get the results, it’s tough when they come back and do that to you.

Brooks Orpik

His reflection on the loss in Game 1:
I think last night was just mentality really. We watched a lot of video this morning and it was just our approach to the game when you get a three-goal lead like that. I think you have to look more at winning the game 3-0 rather than chasing the fourth goal. If you play well defensively and responsibly you are going to force their team to take chances. By playing good defense you are going to get opportunities offensively. You just have to stay patient. We got a little too excited when we made it 3-0. There are a lot of other areas. It’s our physicality in the first half of the game. It was great and then it was almost nonexistent in the second half. But there are a lot of areas. You can point out a lot of different areas. Everybody was responsible.

On if the Flyers’ comeback sparked memories of past games:
No, it’s a 4-3 overtime game and it could have been like they blew us out 6-0. You’re still down 1-0. You just have to look at some video and see what you’ve got to do better. Like I said, No matter how you got the result, it’s still one game to nothing. That doesn’t really change much.

On if it was a result of trying to make too many plays in the neutral zone:
Yeah, that was something we watched. If you watch their first half of their game they were trying to make plays off the rush and it wasn’t working. If you watch the second half of the game and overtime they chipped the puck on us every single time. So we got to watch all their plays this morning and watch how many times they got to hit our defensemen. They really just played a simple game. They created everything off their forecheck. That’s something that we can learn from especially if we have the lead.

--Brittany Goncar

2:45 PM:
PensTV's Steve Mears was all over today's practice news. He filed this report. 

--Sam Kasan

2:42 PM:
Though the Pens experienced a tough overtime loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, it was back to business as usual at CONSOL Energy Center this morning.

The Pens went through a spirited half-hour practice that was, well, normal. While the atmosphere was purposeful and brisk, also present at practice were the normal, animated chirps, hoots and hollers from the players during drills that signified going down 1-0 in a seven-game series isn’t the end of the world.

Afterward, the players talked about finding the balance between learning from the loss and looking ahead.

“That’s the good thing about this team. I think everyone has fun every day,” forward James Neal said. “This is just another day and another practice for us. We’ve got to go out and keep an upbeat attitude and stay on our toes and keep the excitement going. One loss isn’t going to kill us here. We’re ready to go for (Friday).”

Full story here.

(Getty Images)

--Michelle Crechiolo

2:36 PM:
As stated earlier in this blog (click here) the Pens gave their power play a bit of a makeover. For more on the team's new look and strategy click here.

(Getty Images)

--Sam Kasan

2:30 PM:
Pens pics...

Adams with the Harvard stretch (left); Strait with the Boston shot (right)

Sullivan is back on point (left); Tilted artsy pic (right)

Letang warming up at practice (left); Staal ready for a pass (right)

Asham eyes up his target (left); Fleury gets low (right)

--Sam Kasan

1:48 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On Kris Letang being a defensive presence:
I thought he was very, very good in the first period. It coincided with a lot of what we did both moving the puck up the ice and in the offensive zone. I thought as the game went on we got less of that. Not just from our defense, but Kris. (The Flyers) did a good job. They put us back and put pucks behind our defense an awful lot. They continued to do that for two periods and had a real focus at making our defense go back. They gave us problems there. They got on the forecheck and I thought they did that really, really well. It did have an effect as the game wore on and you saw that effect in the overtime.

On not getting pucks in deep and how do you fix it:
There are parts of the game where we had opportunities to skate with the puck and bring it over the blue line. Given the situation, given the way Philadelphia plays and we took that opportunity and tried to turn it into rush plays. Where as, even just the first shift of the second period we had an opportunity. It was a 2-on-2. The third guy was slapping us from behind. We tried to turn that into an opportunity and bring the puck, putting it behind their defense, putting behind their big guys, making them go back, which is something we did in the first period. You saw us do that and be physical at. It was something we looked for, that chance to carry the puck in versus making a statement and a point about how and where we are going to manage the puck. Putting it behind the net is something we did in the second and the third period and got away from, the opportunity to make a statement and play on the forecheck and get to the forecheck and then play in the offensive zone. We know we need to do (that) to be affective against this team.  That is something that we looked at. During the game we talked about it. We talked about that mindset and doing that. I think it was something that we didn’t do as well as we needed to do. 

On his take on the winning goal and Jakub Voracek scoring it:
He was one of their more dangerous players. He had a good opportunity in the second period as well coming down the slot. Marc-Andre Fleury made a very good save on (it). He’s been affective for them earlier in the season in Game 5 (of regular season) against them, the game they won. And in terms of that goal, it’s a shot from a bad angle. A shot that they’re just getting a puck to the net and I think where (Jordan Staal) comes out of the corner with Voracek. He comes out of that right corner with Voracek and makes a defensive play on him.  As he returns to the net I think the play is viewed as somewhat of a surprise for Jordan because the play is towards the net and (Kris Letang) makes a play and he doesn’t expect the puck to come in that direction. Yes, he’s coming out of the corner with that guy. Yes he made the defensive play on that guy. He certainly wins the loose puck, scores the game-winner there from the side of the net where Jordan’s at. It’s a bit of an unfortunate play. They do get a puck to the net and Kris kind of re-directs that puck and doesn’t let “Flower” make a save on it. That allows the empty-net goal.

--Brittany Goncar

1:18 PM:
The Flyers appear to be holding an optional skate at CONSOL Energy Center. There are 12 skaters and Sergei Bobrovsky in goal.

--Sam Kasan

11:42 AM:
The Pens experimenting with a new-look power play at practice. Sullivan returns to the point with Letang. Malkin and Kunitz are still up front. But Crosby and Neal are rotating during the drills.

The Pens are using a lot of different variations, mixing and matching a lot of players on the first and second power play units. Martin and Crosby also worked the points. Crosby worked the halfwall at different times. Cooke, Staal and Kennedy took different shifts up front.

--Sam Kasan

11:30 AM:
A pretty spirited practice so far from the guys. They're jawing at each other and are quite animated on the ice. It appears that they've put the Game 1 loss behind them. This is the workings of a veteran team.

--Sam Kasan

11:18 AM:
No lineup changes judging by the breakout rushes...



--Sam Kasan

11:15 AM:
The Pens are on the ice for practice. Only defenseman Matt Niskanen, who skated earlier this morning, is not with the group.

--Sam Kasan

11:04 AM:
Pens are filtering on the ice for practice.

--Sam Kasan

10:00 AM:
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! Today the Pens will hold an 11 a.m. practice. The Flyers will hit the ice at 1 p.m.


The Pens will get back to work today after a frustrating 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers in Game 1. It was a hard loss to swallow, particularly for the men in the Pens dressing room. They wanted to win that game badly and were not happy with the outcome.

Welcome to the playoffs. These are the highs and lows of the postseason. The highs are extremely high and the lows are devastatingly low. But the Pens have a veteran group that understands that this series isn’t going to be won in one game. The Flyers and Pens are two of the best teams in the NHL and very evenly matched. This will be a long series.

As head coach Dan Bylsma said after the loss, “It’s just one game.” The Pens certainly have areas of their game they’ll address and work on today and tomorrow morning. But they’re going to put the loss behind them and move on for Game 2.

Ironically, in the last four playoff series involving the Pens the team that won Game 1 went on to lose the series. Will it be five straight? Only time will tell.

--Sam Kasan
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