GAME DAY REPORT
Celina Pompeani and Sam Kasan discuss tonight's game against the Penguins and the Stars. --Michelle Crechiolo
GIVE ME A BREAK
The Pens are already coming off their second long break of the season just a couple of weeks in.
They had seven days off between their final exhibition game on Oct. 1 in Detroit and the regular-season opener on Oct. 9 vs. Anaheim, and head coach Mike Johnston said the coaches were concerned about how the team would respond after such a lengthy layoff. Turns out there was no cause for worry, as the Pens scored three first-period goals en route to a 6-4 win over the Ducks.
However, after playing again in Toronto on Saturday, the Pens had another four days (!) off before tonight's tilt against Dallas. So the staff planned out this week's schedule accordingly.
"What we did was we adjusted our practices to go heavy early," Johnston said. "A really heavy, heavy workload. I thought Sunday in Toronto, we had a real hard day. In Toronto we had Monday off, then we went Tuesday-Wednesday. So you sort of build up and get quicker and quicker, get the pace faster as you get close to the game.
"But when you’re in a rhythm of playing four games in a week, you get in that rhythm and get in sync. I think your team is a lot sharper. But I like the way we started against Anaheim, I thought we came out of the gate well and we’re going to have to be prepared for the start of the game tonight."
For a team like the Penguins that's going through so many changes - new coaches, players and systems - having such a long break this early in the schedule can be advantageous. As Patric Hornqvist told me earlier in the week, it was a chance for them to regroup and give attention to parts of their game that needed improvement.
"For us, it gave us the opportunity to work on some system things that we need to get to know with all the new things we got going on," defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. "Obviously you want to get in a rhythm and it’s pretty tough when you have that many days between the games. But it is what it is and we just got to make sure we’re ready to go when the puck drops tonight."
Both Ehrhoff and Hornqivst said the biggest focus during these practices was D-zone coverage.
"Our D-zone coverage in our own zone obviously is a little off and on sometimes," Hornqvist said. "But I think that’s the same for every team in this part of the year. You just have to work on it when you get together. But it looked better the second game, though."--Michelle Crechiolo
PENSTV INTERVIEWS Sidney Crosby Christian Ehrhoff Brandon Sutter --Michelle Crechiolo
QUOTE 'EM--Michelle Crechiolo
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Seguin stretching--Sam Kasan & Joey Sykes
Fleury resets for a shot
And moves to make a save
Ebbett with some stick tricks
Hornqvist shooting off the wrong foot
Turn Downie for what
Dupuis shoots a leaner
Dupuis all smiles
Goc and Downie playing catch--Sam Kasan & Joey Sykes
MORNING SKATE INFO
All of the Pens are on the ice at the morning skate that were expected to be there. No Robert Bortuzzo or Beau Bennett, both are still out with lower-body injuries.
Dallas Stars stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin took part in a video skit with the guys from Dude Perfect. As expected, hilarity ensued... --Sam Kasan
The lovely Celina Pompeani gives you the deets on what's trending this week regarding the Pens. --Sam Kasan
VERSATILE SPALING ADJUSTING TO PITTSBURGH
When Pittsburgh acquired Nick Spaling
from Nashville back in June, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said one of the things he liked the most about the young forward was that he had character and was a good dressing room guy.
His Penguins teammates agree.
“He’s just a solid teammate,” linemate Zach Sill said. “He’s just a good guy to have around and he’s always in a good mood too, so that always brings a little light to the dressing room. Great locker room guy.”Click here for full story.
(Getty Images)--Sam Kasan
The Penguins are only two games into the Mike Johnston era, but already one major factor in the team opening the season with a 2-0 mark has been the success of their power play.
The power play has been, well, powerful, converting 4-of-9 opportunities (44.4 percent). The man-advantage unit connected three times Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 victory at Air Canada Centre.
We’re going to take a look at why the Penguins man-advantage has been so impressive thus far, and what to expect for the rest of the season.Click here for full breakdown.
(Getty Images)--Sam Kasan
(Stick tap: Evan Schall)--Sam Kasan
SCOUTING THE STARS --Sam Kasan
START ME UP
Good morning hockey fans. Tonight the Pens will host the Dallas Stars at CONSOL Energy Center. Here are some game notes to get you ready for the action...
- The Penguins return home to begin a three-game homestand against the Dallas Stars (TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio: 105.9 the X) at CONSOL Energy Center.
- The Penguins have won six straight games against the Stars here in Pittsburgh. Dallas last won in Pittsburgh on Dec. 23, 2000 (8-2) at Mellon Arena.
- Pittsburgh is 8-2 in its last 10 games against Dallas.
- Dallas won the most-recent meeting between the teams, 3-0, on Jan. 25 of last season. In that game, Kari Lehtonen pitched a 24- save shutout and former Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar scored the game-winning goal.
(Stick tap: Pens PR)
Since the Pens are playing against Dallas, we'll open the day with a little country music. I hear you can never go wrong with Luke Bryan. So here is "Drunk on You." --Sam Kasan