VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
BENNETT, JOKINEN TALK GAME 4
Beau Bennett and Jussi Jokinen both played in Game 4 in Ottawa after being scratched for long stretches prior – Bennett for six games, Jokinen for five.
They began the game on the fourth line with Craig Adams. But with Chris Kunitz missing time in the game, rookie winger Bennett slotted up into his spot with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis when needed and did well on that line. Like Jokinen, Bennett is proving to be a versatile player that can skate with anyone. He said the reason he is able to do that is because he doesn’t change his approach to the game no matter who he is playing with.
“I try to play the same way because when you’re not changing it up too much, that’s when you’re successful,” said Bennett, who played just under 11 minutes. “Try to be responsible defensively. Of course when you’re playing on those top couple lines, you’ve got those centermen who can carry much of the play. So you’re just trying to find open spots and get to open areas where they can find you.”
Another part of Bennett’s game that really stood out was his physicality, especially on the boards. He’s always had the hands, creativity and vision, but strength had been something lacking from his game. It’s something that he’s had to work hard to add to his lean 6-foot-2 frame since transitioning to the professional level, but he’s done it and it shows. He outpowered Senators players in the game, especially along the wall in his own end – boxing them out to allow the puck to clear his zone.
“I don’t look strong, but I think I’m wiry strong,” Bennett grinned. “It’s something I always will keep working at and something I learned (how to do) better this year in Wilkes-Barre. My board play and wall plays have definitely improved this year.”
Both Bennett and Jokinen had been working diligently to keep conditioned and ready when they weren’t playing, participating in regular practices and then staying on the ice long after their teammates had left to simulate game-like situations. It paid off.
Jokinen, inserted back in partly because of his prowess in the left dot and his power-play abiity, won six of 10 faceoffs in Game 4 and recorded the primary assist on Jarome Iginla’s power-play goal in the third period.
“I felt pretty good. Obviously worked very hard during the two weeks I wasn’t playing on and off the ice so I’d be ready to play when I get the chance,” Jokinen said. “Obviously I think our whole team played a pretty good game and I felt I was able to play with my strengths, be a good two-way player and pretty good on faceoffs. We were able to get one power-play goal I think, too, on the second unit. It felt good to be back.”
It remains to be seen if the two of them will play again tonight, but no matter what, they'll be ready.
SOUNDS HEARD AROUND THE ROOM
Laughter. Friends. Good times.
Anderson meditates on his game tonight.
Condra sends a puck into space.
Coach MacLean brought his team to Pittsburgh and brought them to play. Good night.
Karlsson and Spezza
Karlsson with some lip and chin fur.
United in Red (and Black)
Stretch it out.
Sens from afar.
Neil looks angry.
The Sens Army captain
--Drew Hancherick & Sam Kasan
SENS SAID IT...
--Sam Kasan & Wes Crosby
Looks like the Senators have adjusted their line combos. They're loading up the top unit with Michalek, Spezza and Alfredsson.
THEY SAID IT...
--Sam Kasan, Michelle Crechiolo, Wes Crosby and James Santelli (total group effort)
Vokoun looks through Morrow's screen. Morrow back at practice with the team
Everyone vs. the goalie. So unfair.
I'm not sure what Neal is smiling about, but it must be hilarious
Vokoun getting the nod between the pipes
Malkin makes the puck float with his mind. The Jedi mind-meld.
Dupuis' beard is something fierce.
Norris nominee and his mentor
The most interesting man alive
Adams and Bylsma talk about the latest Game of Thrones episode
Fear the Jaw
Orpik is full concentration mode.
Kunitz going full speed at practice after playing only one minute in the third period of Game 4.
--Drew Hancherick & Sam Kasan
MORNING SKATE DEETS
Brenden Morrow, who left Tuesday's practice early and missed Game 4, joined his teammates at the morning skate. Full participation from the club.
There appears to be no change in the team's lineup going off the morning skate rushes:
(Morrow, Glass, Vitale, Jeffrey)
1st PP unit: Malkin, Crosby, Letang, Neal and Kunitz/Iginla
2nd PP unit: Niskanen, Martin, Morrow, Jokinen, Dupuis/Kennedy
Down the road from CONSOL Energy Center and across a bridge sits PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball. Thursday afternoon the Pirates defeated the visiting Chicago Cubs, 4-2, for their 29th win of the season - the second most in the National League. After the game the Pirates boarded a flight for Milwaukee. But instead of wearing suits as they normally do, they were wearing Pens jerseys to show their support for the team's Stanley Cup quest (Full story here).
All-Star and MLB cover boy Andrew McCutchen rocks Evgeni Malkin
Neil Walker sports his usual No. 18, which is also James Neal's number
Russell Martin (left); Clint Barmes (right)
Brandon Inge in full gear (left); Travis Snider (right)
Photos courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates
PENS TO HELP OKLAHOMA TORNADO VICTIMS
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Penguins Foundation have teamed up with the American Red Cross to support vital relief efforts for the victims of the recent Oklahoma Tornado disaster.
Penguins and American Red Cross volunteers will be collecting monetary donations at all CONSOL Energy Center gates prior to Friday’s Game 5 playoff game from 6:00 pm until the start of the first period. In addition, fans will have the opportunity to make a donation at the entrance to the outdoor FedEx Fan Zone located across Centre Avenue from the CONSOL Energy Center.
If you are attending the game, any donation you make to help the victims in Oklahoma will be much appreciated! Every little bit helps. :)
START THE DAY
Good morning Pens fans!! Tonight is Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Pens and Senators at CONSOL Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh has a chance to do something it hasn't done since 2008 and has never done under head coach Dan Bylsma - close out a playoff series on home ice. The Sens are hoping to keep that trend going and live to fight another day.
The Pens will hit the ice at 10:30 a.m. for their morning skate. The Sens are up at 11:30 a.m. Stick with us as we bring you the latest news from practice and get you ready for Game 5. Stay tuned...
We're going to start the day with one of the best songs of the "grunge" period. Before Filter was taking pictures, the group was a pretty heavy and angry band in the early-mid '90s. And their battle cry "Hey Man, Nice Shot" should get your blood moving this morning. It's definitely in my Top-10 best grunge songs.