Here's what the Pens were saying in the locker room heading into their matchup with Columbus...
ON WHAT THEY EXPECT FROM THE BLUE JACKETS:
Crosby: "It's always been intense going back to the playoff series there (in 2013). I think that being close in proximity, I think they're just intense games. They like to play a physical game. So just make sure we're ready for that."
Bonino: "They're ahead of us in the standings. They're one of the best teams in the league. These are the games you're excited for and we'll hopefully come out ready to go."
ON WHAT MAKES COLUMBUS SO GOOD:
Bonino: "They're just a solid lineup, just like us. You look at all four lines and all six D and their goaltending, it's solid everywhere. Teams like that are the teams that win deep into the playoffs and they've been building up and kind of stockpiling depth for the last couple years. I think now, you see some of these young guys like (Alexander Wennberg and Zack Werenski), coming up and contributing. They have made an impact and it helps bolster their team."
ON HOW TO AVOID ANOTHER 7-1 DEFEAT:
Hagelin: "First of all, just make sure we stay out of the box. We know they have a really good power play. If we can do that, there's a better opportunity for us to give up less goals. I think other than that, we've got to get pucks deep and try to spend some time in their zone and take some pressure off our D."
Murray: "We obviously want a better effort than the last time. But at the same time, it's another hockey game. We have to worry about what we do and not about what they're going to do. I think if we do that, the rest will take care of itself and we'll be in good shape."
ON LOSING CONOR SHEARY:
Crosby: "Any time somebody gets hurt you don't like to see that. He's been playing really well. We've had to deal with injuries I think all year long. Guys have come in and done a good job. We're going to have to continue to do that here."
Rust: "I've had a few (injuries) over the course of my career and it's obviously something you never want to see with anyone, but especially with a guy who's been having such a good year and who's been playing so strong. It sucks, but hopefully his recovery goes quickly."
ON THE PLAY OF THEIR LINE:
Kunitz: "I think our team has depth throughout the lineup. I don't think it's a thing where we're the bottom-tier players. I think we have categories of guys that go out and play to the system and structure that they're put in. I think we're all willing to go out there and understand we have to be an energy line but we also have to carry the play to get out for another shift."
Fehr: "We're not trying to be fancy. We're trying to eliminate guys and try to read where their D are going to be pushing the puck and hit the guys there and just pick up the puck. It's pretty simple hockey but I think putting D under pressure in this league, there's a lot of good players. You give them time, they're going to make exit plays, they're going to move the puck up the ice. Just pressuring them, I think it does a lot."
Wilson: "Kuni and Fehrsy, when you're playing with guys like that, they help you out a lot. You don't know every situation out there, so they really do help you out and obviously all the young guys do appreciate that stuff."