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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Buffalo

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

12:28 PM:
Sounds heard round the Penguins locker room:

Jay McKee

On continuing the intensity from the Detroit game:
I think sometimes after a good, hard, fun win, the next night you kind of carry over that momentum. We did a lot of good things last night, and with a goaltender like Ryan Miller, that’s what you want to do.
On what Buffalo has done well this season:
I think they have a real good, balanced attack. I think they have a good mix of skilled forwards with some real good grinders, some good depth on defense, some good players, some young players, and obviously the goaltending has been the best part of their game this year with Ryan Miller. So, yeah, they’re a pretty strong team.
On facing some difficult goaltenders in recent games:
It happens, but we’re getting great goaltending, as well. It’s definitely the most important position in the game. It’s the toughest position. Teams can roll with a real hot goaltender, and we have a strong team around strong goaltending.
On what gets him to come to an optional skate:
When you have some nicks and bruises, you want to get out there and move around and get the blood flowing and try to make your body feel a little bit better.
On Lindy Ruff:
He was my coach for nine years and he used pretty much the same system. When the new rules came in, he might have tweaked a few things. But he’s always hardnosed, plays gritty hockey and expects these guys to work every night.
On playing Buffalo:
The Buffalo organization was the team that drafted me and gave me the opportunity to play my first game as an 18-year-old and to be in the lineup as a young player. So I’m forever indebt for the opportunity that they gave me, and it will always be a special meeting when I play against them.
On Buffalo’s Tim Connelly:
His health has made him underrated. There have been a lot of years where he’s battled through some stuff. He had one whole season with a concussion, but he’s an exceptional player. When he gets the puck on his stick, it’s tough to get it off him. He’s got great moves, he sees the ice real well and he’s having a great year.
On Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek:
He can score from everywhere. He’s a smart player and is strong on his feet. He’s definitely a premier player in this league. 

Tyler Kennedy

On what Buffalo is doing well this season:
They have a lot of fast guys over there and they can make plays. They do that and play smart at the (blue) lines and get pucks deep.
On having a game plan against Miller:
Every game, we try to get as many shots as we can and just try to drive the net.
On recovering from his injury:
I’m doing alright. It’s part of hockey. You’re going to get some bumps and bruises, and you just have to move forward.

Mark Letestu

On getting called up and what is expected from him:
They just want energy from me. They want me to come in here and play a sound game, bring some energy and bring some offense.
On Sunday’s win against the Red Wings:
Originally, coming up here, it was pretty overwhelming for me. But, I thought we played real well. We dominated most of the game. Hopefully our confidence is high rolling into the next one.
On feeling more comfortable playing at this level:
I think everyone from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has scored, so I have to get one in here soon. Every game the confidence comes a little bit – the comfort. I’m starting to play with the same guys repeatedly, so we’re building a little bit of chemistry. But the confidence comes with more games, and hopefully with one of these chances it’ll go in. You have to go to the net, so hopefully Tyler (Kennedy) or Matt (Cooke) will bang one off me tonight and get one in the net.
On stepping into the third line:
They’re solid mostly every night cycling the puck, so I’m trying to step in there and keep my feet moving. Obviously I’m not Jordan Staal, but I’m hopefully filling in the best that I can.

11:00 AM:

Morning skate shots:

Craig Adams (left); assistant coach Tony Granato (right)

Brent Johnson (left) will get the start in goal tonight.

10:44 AM:
The Penguins have an optional morning skate in preparation for their Monday night showdown with the Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena at 7 p.m. Ten Penguins participated: forwards Craig Adams, Mike Rupp, Chris Kunitz, Mark Letestu, Tyler Kennedy and Nick Johnson, defensemen Jay McKee, Alex Goligoski, Martin Skoula and Kris Letang and goaltender Brent Johnson.

10:18 AM:
Matt Cooke skated with two of his children on the Mellon Arena ice prior to the Penguins morning skate. He even had a chance to play goaltender.

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