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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Vancouver

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Game day final thoughts:

  • Power play tweak (10:46 AM)
  • Pens lines (10:35 AM)
  • Coach Bylsma on the Sedin twins, a 60-minute game and the third line (12:36 PM)
  • Words of wisdom from Crosby, Fleury and Kunitz (12:01 PM)
  • Scouting report on Vancouver (10:30 AM)_
  • The Canucks only had 8 skaters at their morning skate (11:54 AM)
  • Pens pics (10:58 AM)
  • Canucks pics (12:09 PM)
  • “Dear daddy, I write you in spite of fears of silence…” (10:04 AM)

This will be a tough game for the Pens. Vancouver is currently among the NHL's elite. The team has a dominant goaltender and deep assembly of forwards. Hopefully, Pittsburgh is up for the challenge.


12:36 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On if the team can tell the Sedin twins apart, or if it matters:
I don’t think it’s that hard to tell them apart. There’s instant recognition that it’s obviously one of the two. One has a “C” on the front, so if you’re looking at them with the number on the back, you can tell. But they’re dangerous. One has 12 goals and one has two, but I think they’re equally dangerous when they have the puck. Power play-wise and five-on-five, they’re usually on the ice together.

On if the Sedin twins remind him of anybody that the Penguins play regularly
I don’t think so. They work well together and they seem to be uncanny. But when you talk about the power play or five-on-five, they might be the only combination of two guys that work so well together on the ice that there is in the league.

On if he wants to go top line against top line against the twins:
Part of it will be how good Sidney does in the faceoff circle. If he’s doing real well, then you might see that matchup in the defensive zone. But there are times you would like to have (Kunitz) and (Dupuis) and (Crosby) out there going head to head. But the other turn would be having (Rupp) against them, and that’s probably more what they’re looking for. So we’ll probably see them head to head quite a bit.

On what Kunitz and Dupuis have done better the past few games:
They’ve been pretty consistent all year. As a team, I think we’re getting better. The past 10 games have been better for what we’re trying to do. But when they’re playing well, maybe it’s what we missed a little bit from Chris (Kunitz) last year, his ability to create off our forecheck with the skating. Even with the puck pursuit in the offensive zone, he’s quick to jump on pucks. And when he creates a turnover or he forces a guy into a predictable play, that’s when Pascal (Dupuis) comes in.  He does it with speed and a little more physicality. The next play is a hurried play, with some loose puck situations. It’s creating more for that line, forecheck-wise. Having talked with Sidney, that’s what he talked about for his line – creating more consistent pressure and offensive-zone play for that line.

On if playing a full 60-minute game is even possible against another NHL team:
In a good game, our team has 40 turnovers. So if you’re trying to eliminate all the turnovers and call that a 60-minute game, it’s not going to happen. But if you’re talking about playing a certain way for 60-minutes and dictating the pace, then that’s possible. And we’ve done a pretty darn good job of that. Again, mistakes are going to happen. We liked to get our turnovers – the way we calculated them – under 40, or to 35 and below. But in that game, you’re going to see Sidney Crosby make five turnovers. It’s going to happen. He’s going to make a play and there’s going to be a turnover with the puck. We talked again about the situational factors that are so important in the game, with how we want to manage the puck and manage decisions. We’ve gotten much better at that, and we continue to focus on that and be a team to close out a 2-1 game.

On if Wednesday’s game is a measuring-stick game for the Penguins:
Absolutely. This is a game where this team, the Vancouver team, has been talked about as a Stanley Cup contender and their record is indicative that they’re close to that. We don’t get to see them very often. So this is a game where we’re measuring ourselves against a very good team.

On if there is a measure of success for players who skate on a line with Malkin or Crosby:
I don’t think there are one or two specific stats that you look at because they’re playing with Sid or Geno. Matt Cooke had five hits, one turnover and took part in seven scoring chances last game. If Matt Cooke switched that around and had one hit and five turnovers, then he’s probably looking for Geno too much and not playing the way that Matt Cooke can add to that line. When we talk about the top lines with Kunitz and Dupuis and with Cooke and Asham, when they go out and they are factors with their skating and crashing the net and physicality, being forceful on the forecheck, then that creates good opportunities and scenarios for (Crosby) and (Malkin). So puck management is one that you could look at for Cooke, Dupuis, and those guys, you can’t look at that player and try to get the puck to them every time. You have to play the right way managing the puck. We do see that as a sign of whether they’re playing well or not.

On the new third line, with Chris Conner, Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy:
They present a big speed factor for other teams. The (Crosby) line is going to see the other team’s top D-pairing. The other top D-line will go against Geno’s line. So we talk about (Letestu) and (TK) with great speed and tenacity. They have an opportunity to create and have created in the offensive zone, with their speed. They do it on the forecheck and get to the pucks first. They’ve done it with quickness and speed in the offensive zone. They’ve created quite a bit of offensive-zone time and are a real scare factor for the other team when they’re on the ice

Goal: Tony Jovenitti

12:09 PM:

Gold-medal winning goaltender Roberto Luongo


12:01 PM:

Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On facing Roberto Luongo:
I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, it’s a challenge. He’s a great goalie. I have to respect him for what he’s done. But I try not to worry too much about who you’re playing against. I just try the same things and try what we worked on in practice. It’s not something you want to think about too much.

On Chris Kunitz elevating his play:
He’s forechecking hard, and that’s one thing that teams are going to have to deal with every game. He’s going to be there battling for pucks and he’s going to be there screening the goalie. So he’s tough to play against and as far as our line, he’s responsible for creating a lot. He’s played pretty well.

On the Sedin twins feeding off each other:
It’s pretty amazing, but I guess that’s what happens when you play together for so long.  They know where each other’s at all times. It’s amazing to see, but you don’t want to get caught watching. They’re going to get their chances, but it’s puck possession that’s going to be a battle within the game.

On the power play:
We’ve created some really good chances. The power play is one of those things where everyone looks at the results. There are times where you’re not playing real well at all and you get one shot and it’s a goal. But you’ve got to look at how you’re playing and how you’re competing. We’ve done a great job and got some good quality chances, we just haven’t executed them. The goals will come if we keep doing that. I don’t think that’s a worry. But that’s a power play. Everyone wants results, and you have to put the puck in the net.

On the team building off the last few games:
The last five games, we did some really good things. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. That’s why it’s really important to give yourself a chance every night. We’ve played some really good hockey. If we play like that, we’ll get in a groove. But again, it’s not easy to do that every night.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On the Sedin twins:
They are very talented players. They find each other so well on the ice and they just go to the net. They both have good shots and they can pass the puck real well.

On another big goaltending matchup:
It’s always fun to see (Luongo) play and watch what he does and go against him. But I don’t shoot on him, so it’s not like we’re facing each other like that. But it’s fun.

On if the new pads are ready to go:
I haven’t decided yet. They feel alright, but we’ll see.

On what’s been going right for the team lately:
It’s been going a little better. We’ve been playing more like we should like coach wants us to play. We’ve had some good games and got some wins, so we just have to keep building and try to get some points tonight.

Chris Kunitz

On the Sedin twins:
They almost work in the same brain wave I guess you could say. They know where each other are on the ice. They both do a lot of things extremely well. You saw it last year with Daniel out of the lineup and Henrik putting up amazing numbers. Thy’re a dangerous combination.

On if they’re telepathic:
It’s like any work scenario when you’ve been with someone for a long time. You know their tendencies. You know what they like to do, where they go on the ice. You get that over the years playing with people. But with a brother, someone you spend more time with, it’s something you don’t get when you just go with another team. And they happen to be twins.

On why the Canucks are so good:
Goaltending. When they got Luongo it elevated their status. They’ve done a good job of building up their key core. They have a lot of guys that produced for them. They’re hard-working Western Canadian team. They play hard. They play physical. They make it tough to go into hard areas of the ice.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

11:54 AM:
The Canucks only have eight players on the ice for their morning skate. Defensemen Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Aaron Rome, Andrew Alberts and Ryan Parent, forward Peter Schaefer and goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider took part in the practice.


10:58 AM:


10:46 AM:
The Pens are working on their power play. Looks like Paul Martin will get a chance with the top unit tonight. Martin worked with Letang at the points, with Kunitz Crosby and Malkin down low.

10:35 AM:
The Pens are skating in individual delayed rushes instead of skating in their line shifts. When they broke into their line shifts the groupings looked like this:


10:30 AM:
The Pens are making their way onto the ice. They're sporting their baby blues tonight against Vancouver. The Canucks are finishing up a five-game, 13-day road trip against Pittsburgh. Here is the lowdown on Vancouver.

10:04 AM:
Let's kick off today's game day report with a little Weezer "Say It Ain't So."

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