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Quick Hits: Morning Skate Edition

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Even though the Penguins find themselves in a 2-0 deficit to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final, the team remains upbeat about its prospects of getting back in the series.

“We need the same approach from the first two games,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “I thought we were desperate in the first two games and things just didn’t go our way. We don’t have to change a whole lot. Everyone just has to stay composed here and stay positive.”

“I think this series is far from over,” Ruslan Fedotenko said. “It’s not like we have been outplayed, I feel like we were close. With a couple of good bounces we could be in the game and it could be our win. I think we just play through that and we will be fine. We are pretty positive, we feel pretty good about it and I think we are just going to take it one game at a time.”

“The great thing about a seven-game series,” Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma added, “it's either a testament of the best team wins quickly, or if you can draw it out, it's a battle of will, and endurance and determination, and right now that's what we need to turn it into.  They have two wins, and we need to get back in this series with a win here (Tuesday). If not, we face the prospect of being down 0-3.”

> Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has received some criticism over his play in the first two games. But Bylsma didn’t flinch when asked if he remains confident in the young netminder.

“This is not the first game that Marc Andre's faced criticism from outside and questioned whether he played in the big game or late in the year and can carry a team or play in the playoffs,” Bylsma said. “He's answered those questions pretty dramatically with his play both the last two seasons at the end of the year. He came up with big games in the playoffs.

“But I'm confident that he's always comes back with focus and determination on playing his best game, and I anticipate that will be the case (Tuesday).”

> In the other net, Detroit netminder Chris Osgood has frustrated the Penguins through the first two games. Pittsburgh is determined to get the best of the goaltender and knows the formula for success.

“(Not driving enough traffic to the net) is a big reason why we are not getting those second and third opportunities in front,” Jordan Staal said. “I think we have gotten a few, but not enough. That’s where you score a lot of your goals, around the net, and we need to do a better job of getting it in front of their goalie.”

“Osgood has been solid for them but I felt like we didn’t attack him as much,” Fedotenko said. “We had some good chances, but I feel like we could definitely have more quality shots in front of the net instead of from the outside. We just need to put more traffic at the net and be hungrier.”

> The Hockey Hall of Fame announced that the newspaper voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dave Molinari, will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for print journalism.

Molinari is described by his colleagues as a survivor whose subtle blend of dry wit and unending sarcasm got him through a series of devastating newspaper strikes in Pittsburgh and the disintegration of his newspaper, The Pittsburgh Press. Most notably he was the lead chronicler for all of the tragedies and triumphs of Mario Lemieux’s career as the lead hockey writer for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

> The Penguins continue to grab high television ratings this season. Saturday’s Game 1 drew a 26.5 rating in Pittsburgh, 19.3 in Detroit and a national rating of 2.5. Sunday’s Game 2 hit 31.7 in Pittsburgh, 28.1 in Detroit and 3.4 nationally.

The Penguins also set a ratings record in their Game 7 semifinals showdown with the Washington Capitals. That game garnered a 24.97 average rating and became the most-watched NHL game ever on FSN Pittsburgh, and the highest-rated NHL game for any FSN regional sports network.

> There are a couple of quick fan notes for Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Mellon Arena on Tuesday and Thursday. First, both games will be shown on the outdoor screen in front of Mellon. Second, the Penguins are calling for a “Whiteout” for both contests. Fans will be given a white t-shirt and rally towel.

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