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Penguins Report: Game Day at New Jersey

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • No updates on Malkin or Crosby, Johnson in net from Coach Bylsma (1:19 PM).
  • Pens’ lines (11:46 AM).
  • Dupuis, Letestu and Jeffrey spit knowledge (1:23 PM).
  • Around “The Rock” (5:23 PM).
  • Pens pics (12:00 PM).
  • Devils pics (11:39 AM).
  • Wheels on the bus go round and round (10:45 AM).
  • “Never should have called, but my head’s to the wall and I’m lonely…” (10:00 AM).

5:23 PM:

They might want to take this picture (left) down from the suite level at Prudential Center.

1:23 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Pascal Dupuis

On what the Penguins’ approach to tonight’s game will be without Crosby and Malkin:
It’s playing the system and paying even more attention to the little details that makes us successful. It’s an old cliché, but some guys are going to have to step up. Dustin’s up right now, he’s been playing some good hockey every time he comes up, so we’ll get a little spark from him. Some guys in the lineup that are maybe not used to doing (certain) things. We’re missing two key players. Obviously the power play is getting a little different view. But the guys that were on it this morning were moving the puck well.

On if they need to play more defensively with Crosby and Malkin out
No, we’ve just got to stick to what brings us here. They’re two great hockey players, but at the same time, I think we’re a pretty deep team. We have good players on this team, and even though we’re missing the two-headed monster, we’ll be just fine.

On if players like him and Kunitz need to step up as well in addition to guys like Jeffrey
Yeah. We know we have to do it. You look at the lineup, and it’s not a bad lineup right now. We’re missing Sid and Geno, but we have Jordan who's playing unbelievable hockey right now. He gave us a little boost there, so that’s how we’ve got to look at it.

Dustin Jeffrey

On how playing with two veterans like Kunitz and Dupuis affects his game:
I think it’s just a little bit of a different opportunity this time compared to the last couple of times I’ve been up. They’re putting you in an opportunity to get more ice time and play in different situations, so you’ve just got to take advantage of it. Those guys have been around for a while, and they make this stuff really easy. So you’ve just got to kind of get them the puck and let them help you out as much as they can.

On if he feels any extra pressure playing on that line
I think any time you come up, there’s pressure on you if you don’t play well. I think today, it’s just a little more of an opportunity and you get a little bit more ice time to hopefully make something happen.

On if he’ll get any power play-time:
So far when we’ve been practicing, but we’ll have to wait and see. Things happen during a game, so I’ll let you know after the game.

Mark Letestu

On the coaches saying he’ll get more power-play time tonight:
I think that’s just something where they’re trying to expand my role a little bit. Playing in the bottom six on normal nights, you get a little bit of power-play time, but this is an opportunity to show I can be a skilled player and help the team. Obviously the power play has been an area where we’ve been stressing to get better. As far as a team we're stronger in our PK and maybe our 5-on-5. So it’s an opportunity to get in there and get some fresh legs on the power play.

On if Pittsburgh’s power play is the same as it is in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:
Yeah, for the most part. My role hasn’t changed much. I haven’t really been a net-front guy as far as the power play, but working the halfwall, kind of distributing the puck is something I’ve done for the last couple of years in the minors. Todd Reirden, who runs our power play, he’s a guy that has always used me there and has showed confidence in me. He’s somebody that believes in me. I can get the job done.

Assist: Michelle Crechiolo

1:19 PM:
Couple quick points from Bylsma's media scrum
  • No updates yet on either Malkin or Crosby
  • Brent Johnson to start in goal against the Devils
  • Dustin Jeffrey will be used on second PP unit

Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On being more defensive with not having Crosby or Malkin:
We are a team that focuses on playing defense and prides ourselves on playing defense and limiting other team’s chances and opportunities. It’s important to be aware of that tonight. We’ll continue to focus on that and do that, and that’s going to be a big part of tonight’s game. They’ve been scoring more goals, and have been more aggressive on the forecheck in the offensive zone. That’s something we need to be aware of. The better we can do that, the better chance we have at playing good, solid defense. We’ll still try to maintain as much offensive zone time as we can to be affective tonight.

On Malkin and Crosby’s statuses:

I don’t know about Malkin yet. I haven’t gotten an update on Crosby. I don’t know if he’s symptom free yet.

On the Devils’ style this year under Lemaire
I think they’ve been more aggressive since the beginning of the year. Talking with Paul Martin about them last year, they wanted to be a team that was very good in the neutral zone, difficult in taking away the middle of the ice, then use frustration and turnovers to capitalize on those situations. That’s something we learned a little bit about last year. They’re good structurally in the defensive zone and neutral zone, and I think that is leading to them being more aggressive in the offensive zone with their forecheck.

On if Malkin’s knee was bothering him before the Detroit game:

It’s not something that ever completely went away. We rested him for a period of time. He came back and there have been times in games where he’s gotten bumped and been reminded (of it). The Boston game too, he went down awkwardly by himself. He tweaked it. He took a couple of shifts to recover from that.

On if it's like his shoulder injury last year
Malkin had the shoulder last year and it became a problem. The knee has become an issue for him at times this year.

On Letestu on the power play:
What he brought in Montreal is (being) a faceoff guy. It’s imperative to start with the puck if you can. Without Sid we haven’t been as good with that. With Jordan and Mark on the first unit, hopefully we will start with the puck. He’s a guy that may be better than Crosby and Malkin at delivering the puck to the net from that position. He’s not as good at attacking. He’s not as good at finding seams as the other two guys are. When the puck comes to his position, he gets the puck to the net and our net-front presence. We’ll have Staal and Kunitz there tonight, that’s something that we had success with in Montreal. It’s something we’ll focus on tonight. It will be similar setups and similar positions, but may be a different focus with his strengths and getting the puck to the net a little bit more with Staal and Kunitz trying to get those second chances.

On using Jeffrey on the power play:
His (faceoff) numbers in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are outstanding. He’s been hot and cold in the couple games with us. He’ll get there. He’ll be used on the second (power play) unit in the same position Mark Letestu is – faceoffs, on the halfwall, distributing the puck, getting to the net. He’ll get a pretty good opportunity to show what he can do. He’s also a guy that can move around on the power play. He’s seen time on the point. He’s seen time in the slot and at the front of the net as well. Depending on how the game goes and the situations, he may move around.

On Johnson’s playing time:
There are 11 games this month and this is Johnson’s second start. He’s stopped 80 of the 82 shots in his last two starts against this team. He won in this building earlier in the year. He’s got good numbers. Johnson’s played well for us when he’s gone in. He hasn’t played a ton. We had this game on the schedule (for him) to start for a lot of those reasons. We’re confident in what we’re going to get from Johnson in there tonight.

12:00 PM:
Pens pics that love "Garden State"...

Pens on the ice for their morning skate at Prudential Center

Jeffrey (left); Letang (right)

Fleury (left); Staal (right)

11:46 AM:
It looks like Dustin Jeffrey will get a shot with the big boys. Jeffrey assumed Malkin's spot (and previously Crosby's) centering a line between Kunitz and Dupuis. No changes for the rest of the lineup.


11:39 AM:
The Devils finished up their morning skate earlier in the day. The Pens are making their way onto the ice now.

Martin Brodeur (right)

10:45 AM:
We've arrived at the Prudential Center. The Pens have an 11:30 a.m. morning skate.


10:00 AM:
Welcome to the Garden State! The Pens are in New Jersey to take on the Devils tonight at 7 p.m. in an Atlantic Division showdown. New Jersey is 3-0-1 in its last four games, and always plays the Pens tough - regardless of the standings.

Anytime we visit New Jersey I always think of one of my favorite films, "Garden State." The movie was written and directed by New Jersey native Zach Braff, who also starred in the film. The movie has the best soundtrack of all time!! featuring The Shins, Remy Zero, Frou Frou, Cary Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel.

In Garden State, Braff meets his love interest, played by the adorable Natalie Portman, in a hospital waiting room. She lets him listen to a sampling of The Shins "New Slang." Her character even introduces the song with: "You gotta hear this one song. It'll change your life, I swear."

I'm not sure if the song will change your life, but we'll start the day off with New Slang anyway. The video features a very Holden Caulfield-esque student roaming the city.

And if you haven't seen the movie, you are really missing out. The trailer features the song, "Let Go," by Frou Frou, one of the most beautiful and powerful songs you'll ever hear.

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