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Penguins Report: Game Day at St. Louis

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts…

  • Brooks Orpik will play tonight vs. St. Louis (12:45 PM).
  • Looks like Brent Johnson in net (1:11 PM).
  • Pens’ lines (11:44 AM).
  • Zbynek Michalek does a partial practice (12:09 PM).
  • Comments from Bylsma and Crosby (1:07 PM).
  • Pens morning skate pics (12:02 PM).
  • Blues morning skate pics (11:59 AM).
  • Scottrade Center pics (5:03 PM).
  • Morning setup (10:12 AM).
  • Bus trouble out the gate (10:21 AM).

Tune in for Jason Seidling’s in-game blog at 8 p.m. for all the up-to-date action and information. Let’s see if the Pens can start the road trip 2-0!



The Blues hallways are etched with one-word sayings like "Discipline," "Family," "Trust," "Sacrifice," etc.


Former Blue goalie Brent Johnson was the first netminder off the ice for the Pens. Normally that night's starting goaltender will step off the ice first during the morning skate. Although it looks like Johnson is likely to be in net for Pittsburgh, Bylsma wasn't willing to tip his hand.

"If Brent Johnson were to start tonight, it would be a game against his former team," Bylsma said. "He was scheduled to play, and has earned a chance to play against his former team."

Sounds heard around the locker room.

Dan Bylsma

On playing against Jaroslav Halak
 We know we’re playing against a good goalie, a quality guy that’s made some big saves. We also know we got to him in Game 1 of that series and chased him from the net. He’s a good goalie. They’re playing against Sidney Crosby and they know he’s good. They have every intent of dealing with our team and our good players. I think we can do a good job of creating scenarios where we can get to Halak tonight if we get the kind of pressure we feel we can get.

On his similarities to Davis:

We’ve shared a lot, and talked a lot, and came up with solutions for each other and each other’s teams together. There is some familiarity for sure. He’s tried a few more things differently systematic wise throughout his coaching career, which is longer than mine. There are still some differences. He has a little more experience with different types of systems and Xs and Os. His team will do things differently than our team tonight. We’ve worked out a lot together, but we have our own philosophies.

On the differences between himself and Davis
They play in a division against Chicago and Detroit. They see a lot of different transitions than we do. They’re a little more aggressive in the neutral zone than our team is. That’s more a product of their competition and who they see six times a year in those rivalries.

On the Penguins physicality, leading the NHL in hits
There’s always a talk of Crosby and Malkin, and the skill that we have. But teams do get a taste of physicality when they play us, we hope it’s territorial as well as physical. We hope that takes a toll on a team. We talk about in a 60-minute contest that we can have an affect, some of it is with execution, puck management, physicality, offensive zone time. We hope we can generate that and plan to do. We hope it takes a toll.

On Michalek skating
We’re getting healthier as we go. Arron Asham hasn’t played a regular-season game for us yet. Jordan Staal has not. Zbynek has only played a couple. We’re getting closer to that point. It is nice to see those guys getting on the ice and working towards 100 percent.

Sidney Crosby

On playing against Jaroslav Halak
What we did in the playoffs isn’t any different from what we did before that or what we’re going to do now. It’s not going to change. The things it takes to score goals doesn’t change from goalie to goalie. If you see something you make note of it. All the goalies are pretty good now. They don’t have many weaknesses. The same habits of getting traffic and second opportunities, getting the puck up when you’re tight. All these things are habits you want to develop. You don’t have to change too much from goalie to goalie.

On if Halak is in their heads:
I would hope not. That wouldn’t be good for us if we are thinking that way. There’s not doubt he played great in the playoffs. That’s what goalies do. Sometimes they make those saves. At the end of the day it comes down to execution. There were times where we didn’t put our chances in, we hit posts, those kinds of things, and there were times that he made saves. That’s hockey. I don’t think we need to change anything.


Both Brooks Orpik and head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed that the Pens D-man will be back in the lineup Saturday night.

"Brooks is going to be in the lineup," Bylsma said.

"He told me I'm playing so I'm looking forward to it," Orpik said. "I was pretty patient with it. Hopefully, it's fully recovered, and hopefully it doesn't mess with this winning lineup. I'm a little nervous about that.

"My conditioning is good. I was a little setback coming into camp compared to where I usually because of the surgery in the summer. It feels pretty good."

Some more good news on the injury front as blueliner Zbynek Michalek participated in a few practice drills with the team. He wasn't in for the full practice, but came towards the end and did some work with the defense.


Pens morning skate pics:

Defenseman Brooks Orpik is expected to return to the lineup tonight.

Kris Letang (left); Alex Goligoski and Sidney Crosby all practiced after sitting out Friday's practice with maintenance days.

The Blues held an optional morning skate this morning. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who defeated Chicago 12 hours ago, will be back in net for the Blues. Halak frustrated the Penguins during the 2010 conference semifinals last year.

T.J. Oshie (left)

Former Penguin Ty Conklin (left)


The Penguins are on the ice for their morning skate at Scottrade Center. Here are their line combinations:


The seven defensemen rotated with each other.

An interesting start to the day. The engine on the team bus, which was left running, went dead right before the bus driver was stepping on board to hit the road. The bus driver tried to fire up the bus a few times to no avail, as the players made jokes of getting taxis.

Luckily, after letting the engine sit for a minute the bus started right up! The bus driver said the buses have a timer and shut off automatically after 30 minutes, but usually start right up. I guess this one needed some recovery time.

Anyway, crisis averted. Off we go to the rink we go!

The Penguins take on the St. Louis Blues Saturday night at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. Eastern time) at Scottrade Center. The Blues had a big victory Friday night with a 4-2 triumph against defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago. David Perron had two goals for St. Louis and Jaroslav Halak stopped 23 shots. 

Jason Seidling has all you need to know heading into tonight's matchup in his game preview.

The big news out of Penguins' camp is the possible return of defenseman Brooks Orpik. The Candyman has been out of the lineup since the second game of the season with a groin strain. Head coach Dan Bylsma was optimistic that he'll be back with the team tonight.

The players are on the bus (listending to the soft early 90s R&B on the radio) and ready to head to Scottrade Center for their 11:30 morning skate.

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