TROOPS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT
Normally it is the Penguins who do everything they can do show their support to the American troops bravely serving their country overseas. But this time a group of troops from Johnstown serving in Afghanistan decided to show their support for the Penguins (courtesy of Congressman Keith Rothfus).
VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
TALKING THE ENGELLAND-MURRAY PAIRING
Defenseman Deryk Engelland was scratched for the final four games of the first-round series with the Islanders, but in Monday’s practice and today’s morning skate he skated on a pairing with another big bruising player in Douglas Murray.
The Senators punished the skilled Canadiens in their first-round matchup with Montreal, leaving many of their players battered and bruised. The Engelland and Murray pairing may be deployed against the Senators to combat that aspect of their game.
“What I saw of the last round, they were extremely physical against Montreal,” Engelland said this morning. “I think six of their guys were out by the end of the series. They’re not quite (as strong) a transition team as the Islanders were, so definitely more my style.”
If he does get in the lineup for Game 1, he’ll bring that physicality against all of their players, not just their grit-and-sandpaper fourth line of Chris Neil, Zack Smith and Matt Kassian, who forechecked the Canadiens ruthlessly and are a line the Penguins know they have to be ready for.
“I think it’s good to play physical against everyone, no matter who you’re out on the ice against,” Engelland said. “Make it hard on them all. If I do get in, just do my job. Make hard, physical plays and keep the puck out of our end.”
SENS SKATE PICS
Captain Daniel Alfredsson and his flowing red hair
Sergei Gonchar is playing his first playoff series against Pittsburgh since signing with Ottawa in the summer of 2010
However, Gonch did not lead the stretch
I read today that Craig Anderson has "Beast Mode" inscribed on his blocker. Let's hope he doesn't play that way tonight.
Another one of Anderson
Another one of Gonch, looking loose heading into tonight's Game 1
Taking that big shot from the point
Working on battle drills
--Michelle Crechiolo and Drew Hancherick
THEY SAID IT
Quotes out of the locker room...
--Michelle Crechiolo and Wes Crosby
VOKOUN STARTING IN GOAL
Tomas Vokoun confirmed to the media that he will be the starting goaltender for the Penguins in Game 1 tonight.
"It’s great to be starting," he said following morning skate. "I wasn’t sure after the game if they were going to come back to (Marc-Andre Fleury) or not. I’m trying not to get too caught up in that. If the coaches tell me I’m playing, I’m playing. If I’m not playing, I’m going to try and help the team other ways to win the game. For me, it’s just trying to keep it even keel and not get too excited about stuff. The only thing that matter is if we get the W at the end. I think that goes for all the guys, here."
Vokoun said he still has nerves, though they have improved slightly from the last series. But there's still hours until the puck drops and he will be ready to play come 7:30 p.m.
"It’s a little bit better," he said. "But it’s a long way from the game yet. When you’re on the ice, you’re not thinking about stuff like that. It’s not so bad right now."
PENS PRACTICE PICS
Kunitz and Bylsma inspect their twigs
I have no words to even describe what is going on in this picture
No better way for Vokoun to prepare for a game then by facing shots from players like Sidney Crosby
Geno and Gonch have gone from BFFs to frenemies in this series
Cooke may be a villain in the Senators' eyes, but he's just focused on playing his game
Morrow will be counted on to bring that grit and sandpaper as well
Neal, Malkin and Jokinen all zero in on the same puck. Who will get to it first?!
That withering stare...
Orpik releasing the shot that clinched the first-round series in overtime
Letang works while Iggy, Sid and Crankshaft watch
Linemates Iginla and Dupuis
The head coach speaks with his players
--Michelle Crechiolo and Drew Hancherick
MORNING SKATE DEETS
The Penguins had another perfect attendance at the team's morning skate.
There are no changes from the line rushes from Monday.
1st PP unit: Iginla, Letang, Kunitz, Crosby, Malkin
2nd PP unit: Niskanen, Martin, Kennedy, Neal, Morrow
For the third time in less than a week, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was named a finalist for a major NHL award – this time the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded each year to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) vote on the winner.
Full story here.
I know I posted this in Monday's Penguins Report, but I figured for fans that may have missed it, here is an excellent, in-depth scouting report on the Senators.
START ME UP
Good morning Pens fans! Welcome to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Tonight the Pens open their conference semifinals matchup with the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 at CONSOL Energy Center at 7:30 p.m.
The Pens were hushed on who their starting goaltender will be. Hopefully, we will find that out for you and more when they hit the ice at 10:30 a.m. for their morning skate. The Senators will be on the ice at 11:30 a.m. We'll have all the updates and info you need to get ready for Game 1 here so stay tuned...
Today we are going to start the day with a joyous tune, and one of the greatest songs ever written. Here is Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." Warning: this song may end up playing on an endless loop in your head after listening. You. Are. Welcome.