GAME DAY REPORT --Sam Kasan
PENS SOUNDSSidney Crosby Kris Letang Matt Niskanen James Neal Paul Martin Chris Kunitz Dan Bylsma --Sam Kasan
PENS CHANGE UP ROUTINE
To try and create a road-like atmosphere heading into Tuesday’s Game 7, the Penguins stayed in an area hotel on Monday night.
It’s something the team rarely, if ever does, but the guys didn’t have a problem with it at all — especially since they were able to spend the whole day with their families before coming to the rink late in the afternoon for an optional practice and workouts before heading over to the hotel.
“I liked it,” defenseman Kris Letang said. “It kind of made sure we keep focused on what's coming ahead of us and we don't have to worry about anything else. Having the chance to be with my teammates before the most important game of the year, it's good.”
This was the first time in defenseman Paul Martin’s four years as a Penguin that this team has done it, but it’s not unfamiliar to him as he did it a lot during his six seasons with New Jersey. There, they wouldn’t just spend one evening in a hotel — they would hole up for their entire playoff run.
“I think it’s good,” Martin said. “You keep everyone together, you’re eating together, spending time together. You let everyone go see their family for the whole day and then we get to the hotel. Have a couple meetings and hang out (there) was mostly the biggest thing, just to stick together and be ready to go tonight.”--Michelle Crechiolo
PENS PICS II
Everyone vs. the goalie
Coach Bylsma sets up Sidney Crosby
Chris Kunitz works on his net-front presence on the power play vs. Olli Maatta--Sam Kasan & Andi Perelman
QUOTE 'EM--Sam Kasan, Michelle Crechiolo & Addison Smith
Chris Conner and Joe Vitale
Robert Bortuzzo and head coach Dan Bylsma
James Neal--Sam Kasan and Addison Smith
MORNING SKATE INFO
Defenseman Brooks Orpik was the only player absent from the team's morning skate.
The Pens did not do any line/rush work. Maybe a trick or two up their sleeve?
The power plays remain the same.
PP1: Malkin and Niskanen up top. Crosby, Neal and Kunitz down low.
PP2: Letang and Martin up top. Jokinen, Stempniak and Sutter down low.--Sam Kasan
PENS-RANGERS GAME 7 INFOGRAPH--Michelle Crechiolo
GAME 7 HEADLINES
Here are a few of our headlines heading into tonight’s Game 7. Check 'em out...Crosby, Malkin loose and relaxed before Game 7
There is a lot of pressure resting on the shoulders of Penguins centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The weight of the fans, teammates and the franchise.
The Penguins best two players and leaders are expected to lead the way in Game 7 of their second round matchup against the New York Rangers Tuesday night at CONSOL Energy Center at 7 p.m.
Both players are well aware of the situation and the circumstances.Full story here
...Pens embrace Game 7 opportunity
On Tuesday night at CONSOL Energy Center the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers will take part in the greatest spectacle in playoff hockey – Game 7.
The only thing that was decided after six games and three wins apiece for Pittsburgh and New York is that a Game 7 is necessary to determine which team will advance to the Eastern Conference Final and which team’s season will come to an end.
“These are the ones you dream about playing. You play them in your backyard,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “These are the ones you’ll remember. Game 51 we won’t remember from this year. This one we will remember and take with us. We have to relish that opportunity to play in games like this, Game 7.”Full story here
...Penguins must put back-to-back losses behind them
The Pittsburgh Penguins haven't fared too well when forced to close out a series in a Game 7 on home ice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in recent years.
They'll need to do that Tuesday in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.Full story here
Penguins franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were the two players who were made available to the media on Monday's day off heading into Tuesday's Game 7, which was a pretty big statement in itself. It was pretty cool to see the two of them together side-by-side answering questions going into the biggest game of the season.
The best moment by far was when a reporter’s phone went off in the middle of Crosby answering a question (to the Rihanna song “Only Girl in the World”). Malkin busted out in laughter, while Crosby responded with, “Good song.” The full interview is below. --Michelle Crechiolo
START THE DAY
Good morning Pens fans! Tonight the Pens will host the New York Rangers in Game 7 here at CONSOL Energy Center. The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference Final and have the right to continue competing for the Stanley Cup. The loser's season is over. It's all come down to one 60-minute (at least) battle. Here are a few game notes to get you ready...
BONUS: GAME 7 NUMBERS
- Tonight the Penguins and New York Rangers play Game 7 (TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 105.9 the X) at CONSOL Energy Center.
- This is Pittsburgh’s first Game 7 since the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals when the Tampa Bay Lightning earned a 1-0 win at CONSOL Energy Center.
- New York is playing a Game 7 for the second-consecutive series. The Rangers beat the Flyers, 2-1, in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden in the First Round.
- Pittsburgh is 7-6 all time in Game 7s, including 2-6 at home.
- The Penguins are attempting to clinch a series at home for just the second time under head coach Dan Bylsma. The previous instance was last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals against Ottawa.
- During the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era the Penguins are 6-5 when facing elimination and 11-9 when they have a chance to close out a series (numbers exclude the 2011 Tampa Bay series when both were hurt).
Here are some numbers on Game 7s entering tonight’s contest:
- Pittsburgh is 7-6 all-time in Game 7, including 2-6 at home
- The Rangers are 7-5 all-time in Game 7, including 1-5 on the road
Home teams are 91-61 (.599 pct.) in 152 all-time Game 7s
- The team that scores first is 112-40 (.737 pct.) in Game 7
- During the last three years, home teams are 11-8 in Game 7
- Seven of the 19 Game 7s the past three years have gone into overtime, with the home team having gone 4-3
- Since the 2006 postseason, home teams are 17-19 in Game 7
- During the 36 Games 7s that have been played since 2006, the team that has scored first has won 31 times (80%)
- The Rangers are 4-1 in Game 7s since 2009, scoring first in all four of their wins
Pittsburgh is 2-2 in Game 7s since 2009, scoring first in both of its wins
The Penguins have had five players skate in all four Game 7s since 2009: Marc-Andre Fleury; Kris Letang; Brooks Orpik; Craig Adams; and Chris Kunitz
Stick tap: Pens PR
While we wait for the day to get going, take a look back at a few famous Game 7 moments in Penguins history. Hopefully, the team creates a few more tonight.
#PensIn7 --Michelle Crechiolo
The greatest spectacle in all of sports is upon us – Game 7. Very few things can compare to the finale of a series that goes the distance.
The Penguins and Rangers are aware of what’s at stake. The fans understand the clichés and what they mean – do-or-die, no tomorrow, winner takes all.
But what it really means is that an entire season of work and both teams’ Stanley Cup championship dreams will come down to one 60-minute (at least) game.
Think of all the work that has been done to reach this point. A month spent at a grueling training camp. An 82-game (compacted) schedule and everything that entails: the highs and lows; bumps and bruises; injuries; fatigue; victories; achievements; failures; glory. And two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs – the most intense and physical postseason in all of sports.
Think of the time and energy it takes to reach this point. The hours spent in the gym to get their bodies in peak physical condition. The hours spent in meetings and on the ice in practice, running through drill after drill to hone their skills.
Think of the pain and sacrifice it takes to reach this point. The Penguins have battled through an NHL-high 529 man-games lost due to injury. They’ve spent endless hours in the gym or in the training room, waking up with a pained body in the morning, wearing ice packs, rehabbing, sweating, all just for a chance to get back on the ice to play for a championship.
Tonight, both teams have an opportunity that every team in the NHL would love to have – a chance to advance to the conference finals as one of the final four teams.
Everything both teams did all year has helped them reach this point. It’s all led to this moment, this opportunity.
Yet, everything both teams have done all year doesn’t matter anymore.
The only thing that matters is tonight.
The only thing that matters is Game 7.
Both teams will lay it all on the line. The game could be decided in every shift, every hit, every shot, every save, every scoring chance. The difference between winning and losing will be determined by the smallest of margins. The smallest of margins will determine the difference between advancement and extinction.
When the puck drops, it will be the beginning of the end for one of these two teams. When the final horn sounds and every last ounce of energy, sweat and will has been expended, only one team will survive.
The Penguins and Rangers are aware of what’s at stake.
Everything. --Sam Kasan