Here's what the Pens were saying in the locker room heading into their matchup with Vancouver…
ON THEIR LEVEL OF PLAY AND 11-8-3 RECORD
Crosby: "I think it's been different things. I think early on we struggled, especially with the back to-back games. The scores are pretty evident of that, I think. I think if you look at each game, it's kind of been different things. But I think in general, consistency with our overall game, early on, some games our power play was kind of clicking a bit. Lately it hasn't been as good. The back-to-back games are something that gave us a hard time earlier. It's tight. You've got to have your best game every night just to give yourself a chance to win and we've got to have that urgency and that desperation and if that's there, our game will take care of itself. But just knowing that we've got to compete every night and having that mentality is something that we need to find."
Sullivan: "We have ideas on why we think we are where we are. Like we've said to our players here over the last little while, that we are what our record says we are right now. It's because we haven't brought a consistent effort night in and night out that's going to bring us consistent results. We believe in this group that we have. We think we've got a competitive hockey team and when we're committed to play the game the right way, we feel as though we can compete against any team in the league. You're going to win some games, you're going to lose some games. But for me, it's about how we win and how we lose. It's giving yourself the best chance to win on a given night. There are some things that we can't control. Sometimes you might run into a hot goalie or sometimes you might not get some puck luck out there. The puck doesn't bounce the way you want it to bounce for you. But I think if you focus on the things that you can control, and you play the game paying attention to the details and playing together as a group, we think more often than not, this team will be competitive and we'll win a fair amount of games."
ON HAVING A FEW DAYS BETWEEN GAMES
Cole: "I think any time the schedule eases up a little bit as far as games go and you get some good hard practices in, and hopefully kind of nail down some things that I don't want to say are troubling you necessarily, but are things we think we need to work on, I think that's a good thing."
Reaves: "I think a couple days off is a little rare for us in the beginning of the season. Had a couple good practices, tweaking a few things and just kind of getting back to what we know. Hopefully we're feeling fresh today."
Sullivan: "Our hope is that we got better as a team. We had an opportunity to work on a few things. We had some video meetings and tried to reinforce the video meetings with our practice. I felt like we had two pretty good workdays and hopefully we got better as a hockey team. That was the objective going into it. I think our guys are excited to get into a game tonight. I do think that some of our areas of our game, we identified areas where we needed to improve. We tried to show them on film and then tried to go out and practice those situations in hopes that we could get better as a hockey team."
ON THE PENALTY KILL
Sullivan: "I think our penalty kill has gone through stretches this year where it's been really good, and we've had stretches where it hasn't. Right now, we're in a little bit of a rut, but we do believe in the guys we have. We have to make sure we don't lose our swagger out there, that we have to make sure that we play with a certain level of confidence, and a believe and trust in one another, in the concepts that we're implementing that we can have success."
Cole: "I think any time you can go get pressure down the ice, and try to disrupt their breakout coming through the neutral zone coming into your end, I think that's certainly beneficial. Any time you get the opportunity to apply pressure, you don't want to do it needlessly, but any time you have the ability to get pressure on and force mistakes, it's something you want to do."
ON IMPRESSIONS OF BROCK BOESER, WHO HAD A HAT TRICK IN THE FIRST MEETING
Cole: "Impressions? He looked like the best goal scorer in the league when we played against him (laughs). He's obviously a good player and didn't know a ton about him before, but you can see how dangerous he is."
McKegg: "I've obviously only seen him one time but he's a good player. He had three goals, I think his line had four goals. (Bo) Horvat is playing well too. I think you just have to be aware when they're out there, play tight to them and play within our structure."
ODDS AND ENDS
Guentzel, on switching from wing to center: "I think it's all D-zone. You got to be a little lower and harder down there. I know faceoffs are going to be big too, so if it happens, it happens, but we'll see. I just think you're in the middle of the ice more and you get the puck with more speed sometimes. You just got to try and help out the D and communication is going to be big tonight. I feel comfortable with it. You kind of pay attention in video just because you know it could happen."
McKegg, on switching from center to wing: "I played a lot of wing last year. Obviously, it's a different role than center. You have to be careful with your point-man up top. I think the biggest adjustment might be the wall play. As a centerman you don't take a lot of pucks along the wall, so that's something that might be a bit of an adjustment, but like I said, I played a lot of wing last year so I'm pretty used to it."