Here's what the Pens had to say heading into their matchup with the Washington Capitals…
ON THE MATCHUP
Crosby: "With them, there's still a good group of guys on both sides that played against each other for a number of years. I would say the intensity and the emotion is always a little higher in these games. (Verizon Center) comes to mind when you think of loud buildings, the kind of games we've been a part of when it's been pretty high emotion games. That's fun. As a player, those are the games you want to be a part of. We would expect that (tonight)."
Bonino: "They're one of the best teams in the league again. They're right there with us in our division. Last season was last season, I know we had some success against them and we beat them in a shootout the first game, but none of that will matter (tonight). They'll be ready to go."
ON THAT FIRST MEETING IN THE OPENER
Bonino: "It was a pretty emotional night. Obviously we didn't have Sid, so things are a little bit different now. I think we didn't really play well our first 7-8 games and we've been better lately. Hopefully we can show them a better team than we were Game 1. I'm sure they will be too."
Crosby: "(Watching was) a little different. It was a really good hockey game. Both teams had some really good chances. I had a pretty good look of the whole game from upstairs. I think when you're in it, you're focused on so many different things. But I think that night, just to see all the different parts of the game, the physical play, the skill on both teams, the chances that were created, it's a fun game for fans to watch."
ON PLAYING IN THEIR DIVISION AFTER 6 GAMES OUTSIDE OF IT
Crosby: "I think it's good. I think it's a good challenge, it gets guys up for games like this. You need to be able to play those tight games that are emotional and they present different challenges then maybe other ones do, too. It's good to have these ones, definitely."
Fehr: "It's nice when you're very familiar with the other team. The pre-scouts are a little bit shorter and you've just got to focus on playing hockey and not so much about the X's and O's. It's nice. It's fun for us to play these kinds of games too, where the fans are very involved."
Sullivan: "They're fun games to play in. They're rivalries. They're teams we have histories with and we play in a very good division. There's a lot of good teams. So they're big challenges for us."
ON IF THEY'RE LOOKING AT THE DIVISION RACE
Fehr: "We're trying to take care of our own stuff and we're trying to make sure we're bringing our best game every night and we're not really worried about the standings right now. We're trying to make sure that we're improving every day and working on different things every game and the standings is going to figure itself out by the end."
Sullivan: "Not right now. We're trying to win the game right in front of us. That's been our approach, that has to be our approach, in my opinion. I think we have to have that short-term focus in just trying to control that one game right in front of us and then we'll go from there and see where it takes us. But certainly would we like to win our division? Absolutely. We want to win every game we play. The best way to do that, I think, is to stay on task and make sure our focus is where it needs to be and that's that one game right in front of us."
ON BEING A TOUGH ROAD TEAM:
Crosby: "You really get a good indication of where you're at when you see how your road record is. It's just a little bit more challenging. You're going into tough buildings, the fact that hopefully you can simplify things a little bit should help you. You really want to make sure those momentum swings don't last a long time and you're able to get it back without your own crowd. That's an area we want to make sure we're good in all year."
Cole: "It's huge. I think we always have an awesome home-ice advantage playing at home in Pittsburgh, our fans are fantastic. We always have a great home record. But being able to be a good road team and practicing that during the season (is important), because come playoff time, to win you have to win on the road. It's very rare that a team who has home ice all the way through the playoffs wins every game at home and never wins any on the road. If you really want to go all the way, you have to win games on the road. Tight checking games and weathering those team's storms when they come out with energy. Being able to win on the road is crucial to making another Cup run."
ON THE STANLEY CUP HANGOVER
Crosby: "I think there's challenges that come with playing late into last year. But I think the belief and trust in what we need to do and understanding our roles, that part of it is there. I think when you talk about teams that go through it, it's fatigue, other times it's maybe your mindset. But I think we've been pretty good up to this point. We need to make sure we stay on track. It's so tight. You can't take your foot off the gas. We've done a good job of finding ways right now, we've got to continue to get better."
Sullivan: "We talked about potential challenges that our team may face and how we might respond to it. As a coaching staff we're trying to prepare ourselves for anything that comes at us. Some things you can predict, some things you can't. But certainly as a coaching staff, we've had discussions about potential challenges early in the season and how we might be able to be proactive to move our team through it. So that's certainly conversations we have had."