Jared Cowen only got to see the Pittsburgh Penguins once this season as a byproduct of his injury recovery, but the big blueliner weighed in on the series ahead and, more specifically, the challenges he and his defensive partners can expect with Sidney Crosby & Co., awaiting them.
Here's what Jared had to say...
On getting ready to play Pittsburgh:
I wish I would have got to play them more now that we're playing them, but there's so much to worry about over there. They have quite a bit of firepower. I think we have the perfect style of play to combat that. Obviously we showed that against Montreal against their top players so I don't think we should have too much difference in our game plan in terms of shutting them down.
On the strengths of their matchup:
We have a lot of guys who are good in the D zone. I think that showed through the year. We played really good D in our end and it has transitioned into good offence. That comes from the team we had in Binghamton when we won the championship, there's a lot of guys there who came up here and played different roles in terms of backchecking and playing a checking role and now some of those guys are putting pucks in the net as well. It's a good whole game that everyone's playing right now at both ends of the ice.
On taking lessons from the Islanders:
The Islanders play kind of similar to how we play with the kind of lineup they have and I think if we can simulate that, but maybe have more success in the O-zone.
On getting ready to play Crosby, Malkin, et al:
It's a challenge, it's a good challenge obviously. You've got to rise up to it and take advantage. That's where you make your hay is the playoffs and that's where you make a name for yourself against those types of players. If you can shut them down, who's next?
On what makes the Penguins a top team:
They have three lines that could be a first line on a lot of other teams. The core of their team has been playing together for a while so they're very familiar, they've been to the final a couple of times so it's not like they're inexperienced and talented, they're experienced AND talented. They've got a lot of facets to their game and everyone here has to play their best to match that. We have experienced guys in different ways but not in the same way that they are.
Expect to see a lot of Cowen against Evgeni Malkin's line to start the series with Karlsson and Methot drawing the Crosby matchup. Game 1 goes Tuesday night in Pittsburgh at 7:30.
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