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Penguins Report: Game Day at Florida

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Game day final thoughts….

  • Pens’ lines, Malkin at wing with Talbot taking center (11:39 AM)
  • Crosby expects to play (12:45 PM)
  • Weiss playing tonight for Florida (11:25 AM)
  • Talking points from Bylsma, Crosby and Talbot (1:22 PM)
  • 2-D tour of Bank Atlantic Center (6:30 PM)
  • Last year at Bank Atlantic Center Ben Lovejoy had himself an adventure (10:43 AM)
  • Pens pics (1:26 PM) Panthers pics (10:50 AM)
  • “When I hung up the phone it occurred to me that he was just like me, my boy was just like me…” (10:39 AM)



6:30 PM:
AROUND THE RINK (BANKATLANTIC CENTER EDITION)

 

 

 



Head coach Dan Bylsma is moving Evgeni Malkin back to right wing for tonight's game against Florida. Maxime Talbot will center his line with Matt Cooke remaining on left wing.
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1:26 PM:


Kris Letang taping his stick


Alex Goligoski (left); Brooks Orpik (right)


Malkin (left) stretching it out


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1:22 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma….


On the purpose of his morning skates
:
They’re two-fold, certain aspects of what we do is related to the game. We’re playing the Florida Panthers so our power play and penalty kill will have in mind what the Panthers will do. There is the game plan that gets fit in there. Sometimes we do neutral zone transition, if there is something we want to translate into our game plan. There’s also a mentality of our team with speed and pace. We try to get that in during the morning. There is execution. You want to feel good about your players at the morning skate, they get what they need and feel good about their game when you head into the evening.

On Paul Martin on the PP
:
Paul’s best asset on the power play is his poise with the puck and ability to read and make plays. He’s not the strongest shot in the world. He does have an ability to get it through, but it’s not a weapon back there. The weapon is reading the play, breaking down the forecheck on the breakout, distributing the puck, and in-zone reading and distributing the puck to his left and right.

On defense guarding against the points
:
One of the rule changes that doesn’t get talked about a lot was moving the blue line out. It’s expanded the zone. It’s made D-zone coverage significantly more challenging. When you use your points, they’re open more if you’re team collapses down low and protects the house. When you do get the puck there it expands your D zone and creates seems and cracks behind you. When a team uses the points and goes D-to-D, it’s tough to defend. Tonight we’re playing a team that does widen up their D and go D-to-D. That’s an area of D-zone that we’ll have to be aware of tonight.

On getting lots of shots on Florida
:
Our shot total (against Florida) has been the highest against any team in the league. We do get scoring chances. Last year in the games we were right around 2-to-1 scoring chances for our team. As we’ve seen in the past it has to be that way to crack this goaltender. They play tight around their goaltender. He does an outstanding job of stopping pucks and it’s a second-chance mentality. We have to go in thte game thinking we’ll have to score on second chances.

On if Vokoun plays better with more shots
:
It feels that way. I’ve never gone into the game plan trying to minimize our shots. He is a guy who seems comfortable with that shot total and carrying his team when it gets to the 35-, 40-range mark. He does seem to have banner nights. Our challenge is to stay persistent and look for that second chance. We’ve had success staying with it and having that kind of game plan. It’s always a challenge when you run into a guy that can make those kinds of saves.




Sidney Crosby

On his health:
I feel better. There are no concerns there.

On keeping their recent run going:
I don’t think we need to worry about the results of it. We just have to make sure we play the right way and we’ll get rewarded. It’s a fast team and we have to be ready to skate. We want to get to our game. We’ve done a lot of good things the last few games. We want to continue that.

On facing Florida’s PK unit:
They’re aggressive. That’s their team’s mindset regardless, even strength and PK. We’re going to have to make quick decisions. They’re good at blocking shots and things like that. We’ll have to be quick and execute well. Hopefully, if we do that there will be some chances.




Maxime Talbot

On centering the second line with Malkin and Cooke:
Lines change during the game. It’s nice to have a chance to start the game with him and see where it goes. We talked on the ice for a little bit and said we need to play in the offensive zone and get out of the other zones as quickly as possible. We want to have the puck on our stick and create some stuff. It’s nice for me to play that position and with ‘Geno’ and ‘Cookie.’

On if he’s played center with Malkin before:
It was officially more right wing but when we played defensively whoever was the first guy back would play center. It’s not a big difference. It’s more taking faceoffs. If I take the draw I’ll stay down low and play defensively. The first one back will play defensively.

On if this is a reward for his recent play:
We’re trying some stuff. It’s a long season. Right now I feel pretty good. We’ll see how it goes tonight. I’m pretty excited.



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12:45 PM:
Crosby will play tonight vs. the Florida Panthers. Asked about his injury he replied, 'I feel better, there are no concerns there.'
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11:39 AM:
The Penguins are on the ice for their morning skate.

Head coach Dan Bylsma has moved Evgeni Malkin back to right wing. Maxime Talbot will move up to center his line, with Matt Cooke remaining on left wing.

Here are the lines the Penguins used today:

Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Cooke-Talbot-Malkin
Conner-Letestu-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Asham
Godard-Comrie
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11:25 AM:

Panthers forward Stephen Weiss, who was listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury, participated in this morning's skate at the Bank Atlantic Center. Head coach Peter DeBoer said he expects Weiss to play in tonight's game.
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10:50 AM:
The Panthers are on the ice for their morning skate.

 
Goalie Tomas Vokoun (right)

 

 
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10:43 AM:
Today marks the one-year anniversary of perhaps our favorite Penguins Report of all-time: Lovejoy's Big Adventure. During a practice at Bank Atlantic Center on Nov. 22, 2009, Lovejoy lost the team's shootout competition, sending him on an excursion of the rink in his full equipment - minus his skates of course.
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10:39 AM:

Let's begin with 'Cats in the Cradle' by Ugly Kid Joe to kick off the dad's trip:

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