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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. NY Rangers

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts….

  • Tyler Kennedy is ill and will not play tonight (11:29 AM)
  • Lundqvist in net for NYR (10:55 AM)
  • Pens’ lines (10:34 AM)
  • Bylsma talks PK, Gaborik and Fedotenko (12:00 PM)
  • Q and A with former Pen Ruslan Fedotenko (12:15 PM)
  • Some Winter Classic jersey for sale (10:35 AM)
  • All-Star fan voting starts today (10:39 AM)
  • Interviews with Crosby, Fleury and Letang (12:06 PM)
  • Scouting report on the game (10:28 AM)
  • Hits stat (10:53 AM)
  • Pens pics (10:56 AM)
  • Rangers pics (12:08 PM)
  • “All I can say is that my life is pretty plain…” (10:15 AM)

That’s all I got for today. Check back at 7 p.m. for the in-game blog. It’s always a good game when the Rangers are in town.


12:18 PM:
The NHL released with weekly three stars, and captain Crosby was on the list. Crosby was named the second star of the week after totaling eight points (3G-5A). He had multiple points all three games. Read more and watch highlights >>

12:15 PM:
We chatted with former 'guin Ruslan Fedotenko after the Rangers morning skate. He's a solid guy, and always classy.

On signing in New York:
Yeah, but it was in the past, so you still need to prove what you can do now. What’s in the past is in the past and now you’re just fighting for the spot like any other guy there. You just want to prove that you can be better than some of those guys.

On his summer:
The last couple years, I worked in Montreal except after we won the Cup – it just didn’t work out that way. But I had a great summer. I worked out really hard and I’m in great shape. I didn’t know where I would be or what to expect going into training camp or Tortorella’s camp. I had a great summer, and I’m feeling healthy.

On CONSOL Energy Center:
I think the building is amazing. It’s really nice. I think it’s awesome for fans to watch the game.

On if he misses the Civic Arena:
Not yet, we’ll see. I have memories and memories, but I didn’t have a chance to miss it yet.

On talking to some of the Penguins before practice:

Yeah, we talked a little bit. It seems like everyone is doing well and it’s exciting to see them.

12:08 PM:

Sean Avery (left); Ruslan Fedotenko (right)

Henrik Lundqvist (left) will start in goal for NYR tonight.

12:06 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On the upcoming home stand:
We want to keep playing the way we’ve been playing, first and foremost. We want to keep building on what we’ve been doing. We’ve got a stretch here at home so we want to make the most of it.

On if he watched Sunday’s Rangers game and saw Sean Avery’s antics
I just saw highlights. I didn’t see what happened, but I heard about it. I haven’t seen it yet, but might be something that’s looked at.

On testing his new Reebok stick
Mine hasn’t changed a ton. It’s still the same model. I’ve been using that for the last couple years. It’s pretty much the same as last year.

On if the team is reaching consistency
Yeah, throughout the last three or four games. Obviously, we had a tough third period against Boston, but other than that our game has been where it needs to be and we’ve given ourselves a chance to win games. There are times where you’re going to play well and lose. It’s tough enough to win, but you’ve got to give yourself a chance.

On what has changed with the team
I think it’s just execution and competing and making big plays, whether it’s a power-play goal, a big penalty kill or whatever the case is. You need to have good timing, too and just make plays. I think we’ve done a lot better job of that.

On Marc-Andre Fleury:
He’s played really well the last couple. I’m sure that helps and I think he’s gaining confidence. And as a team, we’re confident in the way we’re playing. We want to just keep it going.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On the last few games:
It definitely feels good to get some wins and get some points in the standings. I don’t think I’ve changed how I play my game. I just keep working at it in practice.

On how difficult the early part of the season was
It was frustrating, definitely, to struggle to get some wins in the building. It was tough, but my teammates were supportive and they helped me through it. We got two big wins over the last two games.

On what has changed for him:
Nothing really. I didn’t change my style or anything. I just keep working.

On the challenge of facing the Rangers and Marian Gaborik:
He’s definitely a guy you have to keep an eye on. He’s very dangerous on the net. They have a strong team overall—a good goalie and good D. We have to be sharp and ready to go.

On being back home after the reception he got on Friday:
(Friday) was a fun night and emotional. It was a great win and I’m just looking forward to being back in there and get another win.

On if the schedule is set up for the team to establish CONSOL Energy Center as a tough place to play this week:
Yeah, it would be a good time to do that. We’ve been in and out and we’ve haven’t been here a whole lot. We’ve got to take this opportunity and make the best out of it.

Kris Letang

On what it was like to see Fleury smiling again:
It was good, really good. He got his game back and everybody was happy, especially him. We’re going to play better as a team, I think.

On the importance of this three-game home stand:
Obviously we want to get something going with the two wins that we had. At home, too, I think it’s really important, because we’re not even a .500 team at home. We’re going to establish ourselves in our building as a tough team to play against at home.

On the Rangers:
They have a lot of good forwards. They’re pretty balanced on D and they have Lundqvist in the net. They’re a really good team on paper and I think we have to be aware of those guys like (Alex) Frolov and (Marian) Gaborik.


12:00 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On if he was surprised that the bug is still affecting the team:
I would have hoped that after five or six days of not having it, I was surprised to get that text last night.

On if Fleury’s performances are giving the team confidence
An individual’s play does that for a team, whether it’s a goaltender or not. In Atlanta they got the first goal, and on the next shift there was a huge save made. Marc-Andre makes the save and it gives our bench confidence. It also alerts you to get going. It was 1-0 and he makes a big save, those are the things you expect your players to do. He’s been excellent in the last two games doing that for our team.

On the PK playing well without Staal:
There is a big void there without Jordan. There is a void in the faceoff dot as well. He’s our best faceoff guy after Sid. He’s probably No. 1 on our penalty kill. That is a big hole. I think we’ll be better once Jordan gets back in there. I give the guys a lot of credit with their battle level and work ethic. They’re blocking shots. Our forwards have done a lot of that the past few games. Craig Adams has been good in the faceoff circle for D-zone faceoffs. The last game, three times we got clears off his draws. That’s how you start a penalty kill against one of the top power plays in the league. The guys have stepped up in a big way in a lot of the games we’ve played.

On Marian Gaborik:
You rarely see a game where his speed isn’t a factor, and his skill and hands when he gets an opportunity. You’ve got to be aware of that speed. We’ve got to take it away. We’ve got to limit his time and space with good checking and physical play. He’s going right now. We’ve got to be aware of that.

On Ruslan Fedotenko’s return:
He was on the bench to see the new arena and to say hello. It’s a little weird seeing him in a Rangers T-shirt, a lot of good memories. Even when I watch their games and scout him, I see him coming over the blue line with the puck on his stick, it brings back memories of a few years ago. He got some goals for us in big situations. He’ll be wearing a different jersey tonight. I think our guys will be aware him. He’s having a good year right now. We’ll be aware of him tonight.


11:29 AM:
Tyler Kennedy did not skate due to illness, and he will not be in the lineup tonight for Pittsburgh.

10:56 AM:

Former Penguin Ruslan Fedotenko chats with some former teammates before the Pens morning skate.


10:55 AM:
The New York buzz is that Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers after recovering from an illness. Backup Martin Biron has started the past two games, but all indications are that Lundqvist starts tonight. According to legendary Bob Grove, Lundqvist has started 27 of the last 28 games against the Pens.

10:53 AM:
Expect a physical battle tonight as the Pens and Rangers rank 1-2 in team hits in the NHL. Pittsburgh leads the league with 506, with the Rangers having 495.

10:39 AM:
All-Star fan voting begins today!!! The Pens have four players on the ballot (Malkin, Crosby, Martin and Fleury). Make sure you vote, and feel free to write in a player's name (Kris Letang).

10:35 AM:
Winter Classic jerseys are on sale at PensGear, the official team store located inside CONSOL Energy Center. Currently, Crosby and Staal jerseys are being sold. Malkin's jersey will be available shortly. The rest of the team will be on sale at a later date.

10:34 AM:
Here are the morning skates lines used by the Pens:

No Tyler Kennedy on the ice.

10:28 AM:
The Penguins will face Atlantic Division rival New York Rangers at 7 p.m. Here is a scouting report for the contest.

10:15 AM:
Here's a little "No Rain" from Blind Mellon for a wonderful Monday morning.

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