Here's what the Pens were saying in the locker room at PPG Paints Arena heading into Game 3 against Washington…
ON HAVING A BETTER START
Crosby: "I think if we can have a little more desperation, that's something right off the start, especially being at home, hopefully that helps us a bit. I think we need to find another level of desperation early on in the game and the first goal to start a little bit better."
ON PLAYING A FULL 60
Sullivan: "It just makes us a much more difficult team to play against when we play a more consistent game. We've had stretches where we've been really good and we've got to the game we want to play, but we still have to continue to strive to get better at handling the momentum swings. That's something we discussed as a group. Now we've got to go out and act on it. That's the next step, obviously. I think a lot of times it starts with just simplifying the game, taking some of the thinking out of it and just trusting your instincts. That's something we talked with our players about."
Rust: "I think we still have another level of play we can get to. I don't think we played our best the entire time. I think we've got to try and get to that game for a full 60 minutes and play more consistently. We've had spurts where we were really good and times when we capitalized, but we've had times where we haven't been very good and been bailed out a little bit. I think we know that. We've got to be more conscious of the details and play a little bit harder for a full game."
ON GUYS MOVING UP AND DOWN THE LINEUP
Crosby: "I think this year we probably had a little more practice at it because we have had a lot of guys who have missed time. I think everyone is pretty comfortable with playing with each other. I think the main thing is that no matter who you play with, guys understand the role. That has allowed us to have guys play with different combinations."
Kunitz: "I'm a team guy and whatever they need and whatever they expect from me, I'm here to help our team win. Whatever they ask you or whatever situation they put you in, I try and stick to the basics of my game. Hopefully you do that well enough that you get more ice time. We have a fairly deep team. We're all trying to earn our ice minutes out there. Just trying to get the next win."
ON BLOCKING SHOTS
Crosby: "I mean, it's the time of year you need to do it. It's one of those things where you don't want to get it in a bad spot, but if that's the case it's usually a spot that doesn't have padding sometimes. It's the time of year you see it in a lot of different teams and it comes with desperation level. Hopefully we can get those blocks and stay out of harm's way."
Cole: "There are a bunch of different ways you can do it. But it really comes down to having the will to do it. We have a lot of guys in this room that want to do it and help out."
ON HANDLING MOMENTUM SWINGS
Cole: "Our goalie has played fantastic. That certainly helps. We can do a better job of trying to prevent their runs or shorten their runs. They're a great team. They're very competitive. They're determined to have a great series. We'll try our best to limit that. We'll have to have a little pushback of our own."
Schultz: "Flower has been huge for us. He's kept us in it. We have to do a better job of pushing back. It's a big game and we have to be ready for their push and we have to push back."
ON POTENTIALLY PLAYING WITHOUT HORNQVIST
Crosby: "Yeah, it's tough. He does a lot of little things. I think just the level of us competing has to be a little higher and more consistent. I think it has been there for periods at a time, but not a full game. I think collectively as a group that could be better, and if it is a game without Horny, then that's something we need to focus on."
ON IF CROSBY AND MALKIN FIGHT OVER HIM AS A LINEMATE
Rust: "I think they might be just trying to pass me off on the other one (laughs). Just send me back and forth. I try not to think about it too often, but I get texts from buddies every now and then, like 'how's it feel? How cool is it?' When I think about it, it is pretty cool, but for me, they're just linemates and I'm just trying to go out there and play well with them."