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Penguins Report: Game Day in Buffalo

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts:

  • Jeffrey to play against Buffalo, no Malkin (1:19 PM).   
  • Malkin did skate though, Pens lines (11:46 AM).
  • Everyone loves talking about Sid (10:48 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma on the lineup, Jeffrey and Buffalo (1:25 PM).
  • Words of wisdom from Crosby, Jeffrey and Fleury (1:35 PM).
  • Game preview (10:02 AM).
  • Looking back at the Pens 1-0 win in Buffalo in November (9:52 AM).
  • Goal of the year? (4:48 PM).
  • The Sabres have an early morning skate (10:43 AM).
  • Pens pics (11:56 AM).
  • Around the HSBC Arena (4:55 PM).
  • “She says that love is for fools who fall behind. I’m somewhere in between. I never really know a killer from a savior…” (9:49 AM).

4:55 PM:

The Sabres have an awesome display as you enter the HSBC Arena with prominent players and moments throughout the team's 40-year history. There's current Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay (right)

Former Pen great Tom Barrasso started his career in Buffalo

Buffalo will host the 2010-11 World Junior championships in late December/early January. Will we see another USA triumph over Canada?

Around their concourse the Sabres have their players posted in very QB-esque pictures.

Tim Horton (left). I still only think of coffee and donuts anytime I hear that name.

4:48 AM:
Back at the rink and waiting for the start of the big game. Set up in the media work room next to Hall of Famer Mike Lange. He's going through his game preparation. It's not everyday you get to see a Hall of Famer in action.

Anyways, caught this goal on YouTube. Pretty nifty.


1:35 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...


On what it feels like to be on a winning streak like this:
We’re not thinking about it too much, which is a good thing. We know each game is tough, and it’s tough to win every night. So we try to prepare accordingly. We’ve been competing hard, we’ve had a lot of effort and have got some big plays from everybody in each game. You just want to keep that going and keep the streak going as long as you can.

On how his play has played into the team’s success:
I think we’re all benefiting. When you play together well as a group, it means that individually, everyone’s kind of where they need to play within their role. For me, I just want to keep doing that. We all have that responsibility.

On how he feels about his own personal hot streak:
I don’t really think about it a whole lot, to be honest with you. It’s one of those things where you just want to keep going. When you’re feeling good as a team and you’re feeling good individually, you want to make sure that you prepare and give yourself the best chance to be successful every time you’re out there.

On how hard his teammates have been working to be on this win streak:
It’s not easy, and it shows that everyone understands what they need to do. They’re doing their part and we’re getting success. There’s times when you do that and sometimes you don’t win, that’s the reality sometimes. Everybody’s good. And with the better chance you give yourself with the way you compete and prepare, hopefully we can keep it going.


On getting to play in tonight’s game:

If you get the opportunity to play in an NHL game, you’ve got to take it and relish it and take advantage of it. The team’s playing really well, and this opportunity doesn’t come around very often. So you’ve got to try and make the most of it.

On if it’s fun to jump into the midst of the Penguins hot streak:
Absolutely. The whole organization is doing really well. We’re doing well in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the guys are on an 11-game win streak here. They’re playing really well too, so it’s a fun time to be a part of this organization right now.

On what forward position he prefers:
Most of the season I’ve been playing center, so that’s what I’m comfortable with right now. But to get an opportunity to play here, I’ll play wherever they ask me.

On his development as a player with WBS:
I think it’s going really well. The coaches have really been talking a lot to us, they give us a lot of feedback. It’s going well, when the team’s doing as well as they are now, it’s pretty easy for everybody to contribute.

On if it’s hard to leave WBS when they’re playing so well:
We’re doing really well, and obviously these guys are doing really well here. So you just kind of want to come in and you don’t want to stir the pot too much. You just kind of want to play your game and hopefully I’ll help the team.

On his opportunity:
Everybody that’s in WBS, they’re waiting for their opportunity. I was lucky enough to get mine now, so hopefully I can make the most of it.


On if he thinks about a goalie like Ryan Miller being in net:
Yes and no. I like to watch him play. I think he’s a very good goalie. He’s somebody I like to watch and see what he does. But for the game, I’m not one to worry about it. I’ve got to focus more on the players, the guys that will score on me. So I’ve got to worry about them and the other guys will worry about Ryan.

On if he’s built confidence from earning a shutout against the Sabres the last time he faced them:
It was a fun game, a good win, but it’s a new game tonight. We’ve got to start from scratch. We know they have a pretty good team, they’ve been playing well lately also, so we’ve got to be ready for them.

On if it’s still somewhat disarming to have the HBO cameras around:
Yeah, it’s still a little weird. There’s guys with mics and cameras all around, but they’re nice. They’re trying to make it easy on us.

Unassisted goal: Michelle Crechiolo

1:25 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma (after coach helped communications director Jen Bullano install the CONSOL Energy backdrop)...

On changing the lineup during a winning streak:
It's the not the first change to the lineup that we've had. The mindset for our team after every game has been that (that) one is over and we're moving on to the next one. How can we get better. Dustin is a guy that's a guy that's been begging for a callup with his play for a month and a half now. The opportunity hasn't presented itself. Tonight against a Buffalo team, the way they skate, their special teams and the way their D activates, we thought this was a great opportunity to get Dustin in the lineup and add to our team.

On Jeffrey leading the AHL in scoring:
Last year you saw his point production really spike. That's something he did in junior, but hadn't done in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton yet. I think the thing about this year that is significantly better than last yera. Last year he was getting the points, this year his all-around game has been better in every area of the game: work ethic level; penalty kill; power play has been outstanding; five-on-five. Much like with Chris Conner earlier in the year, this is a guy we've heard a lot of great things about his play away from the puck, leadership and this is a callup he's earned.

On the first game in Buffalo:
The chances were 14-14. We were coming off not a great stretch of hockey. They've turned that around now. (Ryan Miller) is back in. With Miller, he'll be a factor. Their D is a real focus point for their team, not only on the rush but in the offensive zone. You'll find them in the slot or backdoor. That's a dangerous part of their team. We saw that last time against them. We have to be aware of that. If we can play defense together, it's something we can exploit. If they committ four or five to the rush, if we play good defense we want to quick counter tonight.

1:19 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Malkin will not play tonight, but that Dustin Jeffrey will play. Jeffrey will start the game centering the fourth line, and may see some time on the PK.

"Dustin Jeffrey will play tonight," Bylsma said. "He'll start the game at the fourth line center position. He will probably see some penalty kill time. We have a group of four right now that are going pretty well, but at times find themselves in the box. If that's the case, Dustin will pick up in one of those spots. Draws will be another area tonight, depending on how he does. That's something he's been doing well in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He may be used in that situation as well."

11:56 AM:

Evgeni Malkin was back on the ice for the first time in a week

Marc-Andre Fleury (left); Pascal Dupuis (right)

Recently recalled Dustin Jeffrey (left); Chris Kunitz (right)

11:46 AM:
As we reported yesterday, forward Evgeni Malkin is skating for the Penguins. It is the first time Malkin has been on the ice since he took the morning skate last Saturday in Columbus. Though Malkin was on the ice, he did not skate with a line during the session. Malkin and recently recalled Dustin Jeffrey skated during the defensemen rushes.

No changes to the lines for the skate:


10:48 AM:
Here's some shocking news. Everyone around the league is impressed with the current play of Sidney Crosby.

10:43 AM:
The Sabres must have held an optional skate. We arrived at HSBC Arena shortly before 10:30 a.m., which is the scheduled time for the home team to skate. But there were only a handful of players on the ice. And most of them have already left. Unless coach Ruff likes to skate earlier than most teams at home, I'm guessing the team had the optional.

FSN Pittsburgh's Dan Potash informed me that the Sabres start their morning skates at 10 a.m. Thanks buddy!!!!

10:02 AM:
For a closer look at tonight's game, check out Michelle Crechiolo's game preview. Buffalo is on a 4-1-1 roll and will have Ryan Miller between the pipes. It should be a tough challenge as the Penguins look to win a dozen straight games.

9:52 AM:
A lot went down last time the Pens were in Buffalo. It was the final game of the fifth annual "Dads' Trip." On the ice, Marc-Andre Fleury did his impersonation of the Berlin Wall, stopping all 30 shots he faced for his 17th career shutout in Pittsburgh's 1-0 victory.

9:49 AM:
Back in Buffalo for the final time this year (unless the Pens meet the Sabres in the playoffs). Anyways, let's open the day with an acoustic version of Fuel's "Shimmer." 

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