The Penguins will embark on a road-heavy portion of their schedule starting with Wednesday night’s game at Nassau Coliseum against the New York Islanders at 7 p.m.
Five of the team’s next six games – as well as eight of their next 11 – will take place away from Mellon Arena.
“It’s going to be interesting,” forward Pascal Dupuis
said. “We’ll have to play simple games, play hard games in other buildings. Put some pressure on the other teams too and put the fans back a little bit, and win some big hockey games.”
The Penguins logged a lot of travel miles this season. They opened the year with 10 days in Stockholm, Sweden. Then the team had a four-game road trip at the end of October.
“It’s a good test,” Sidney Crosby
said. “You want to build momentum, especially when you have a lot of road games. We’ll start off here in Long Island and move along from there.”
“We’ll try to get into a rhythm and get some momentum going,” defenseman Brooks Orpik
said. “Hopefully we get a couple wins early on and get some confidence with the team.”
Following the showdown with the Islanders, Pittsburgh will play back-to-back games for the first time since the Sweden trip on Friday at Buffalo and Saturday against New Jersey. The matchup with the Devils is the team’s only home game in 16 days.
“We’ve had a pretty easy schedule after the Sweden trip,” Orpik said. “This will be a good test for us. Once you get into the holidays and January, that’s when you start playing every other day.”
Road trips allow a team to get away together and work on things without the normal distractions that take place at home. There is also the chance for players to bond.
“You spend 24 hours a day, pretty much, together,” Dupuis said. “It’s easier to become a unit, to be a team. If you get the big wins too, it helps.”
“You have a certain focus when you’re on the road,” Crosby said. “You have a routine. Guys are together a little bit more. Everything is pretty structured so I think it’s easy to get into that routine and that focus. It’s always nice to get on the road together.”
For now, the team isn’t looking too far ahead. Their main focus will be the Islanders.
“We have to start with (Wednesday),” goaltender Dany Sabourin said. “The Islanders are playing really good hockey right now. We’re playing good hockey too. Every game is so important. We have to look at it one game at a time. That’s the way it should work.”Archive