Penguins Report: Game Day at New York Rangers
Thursday, 03.4.2010 / 11:16 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
AROUND THE RINK (MADISON SQUARE GARDEN EDITION)
This picture of the opening overtime tipoff between Pitt and Duke at the Garden from Dec. 20, 2007 hangs in the hallway of the visiting locker room at MSG. Pitt defeated then No. 6 ranked Duke, 65-64.
The beautfy of the MSG press box is that you have to walk through the crowd to get there. As you can see in the left picture, you walk up this aisles and the press is only one raised row away from the fans. It makes for a great working atmosphere.
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On the Rangers:
How they play doesn’t change. They’re going to work, come at you, force you in a lot of areas, whether they have (Marian) Gaborik in the lineup or not. They did that last game. We did not, and were not able, to get to our game, and play that way. That’s a credit to the way that they played and forced us. It’s something we’ll have to be ready for every time we play them.
On his for the last 20 games:
Things that we’re talking about as a group is how in consistent with how we’ve played. I don’t think we’ve been able to establish our M.O. as a team, how we’re going to play night in and night out. I think we certainly are respected for our skill level and teams are aware of that, but I don’t know if we’ve given a game where we’ve worn teams down, back on their heals and let teams know that they’re going to be dealing with that for 60 minutes. I think we did the best job in a long time in our first game back. That’s really a big focus for us in the last 19 games. We need to go out there no matter the score, opponent or time of the game, we’re going to be playing a certain way. I think our best game of that was last game. When you see those shifts where defensemen can’t get off the ice, you keep them on there and the next line goes out and does it, those are the types of shifts that we need to see often. Last game was our best game at that. Our challenge is to keep that going forward. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Rangers or Washington Capitals.
On Fleury getting back into the groove:
If you’re talking about Brent Johnson I’d expect him to be ready today. He doesn’t get in the games as often as Marc and we don’t address the question in the ways that you’re addressing it now. He has had some time off but he’s going to get in net tonight and we expect him to be right back in his game, doing what he does for us.
On if the Buffalo game was a result of something from the coaching staff or the players:
I hope both. Our players will be on record saying they know what our game looks like. Knowing what our game looks like and talking about it and playing it with the regularity that we did before, again the word inconsistency was used. We talked about that in our room and how we need to do that, and drawing the plays and team things that we’re looking for that is evident that we’re playing our game. If you look at last game there were a lot of things in our game plan, and what we did and how we executed was evident that we were on our game. Those are things we’re trying to draw out. When you look across the room and you’re confident the guys will do those things and vice versa. That was a big focus for us during the week in conversations, and will be going forward.
On if the gold medal-winning goal changed his life:
It hasn’t been that long so you’ll probably need to ask me later. It was definitely a fun experience. I dreamed of having that opportunity. To win a gold medal has been great. I’ve been able to turn the page. I’ve been back for a couple days now and back into the routine.
On the reception he expects from Rangers fans:
I expect a road game. I always go into opposing buildings expecting that. I’ve gotten used to that in certain buildings. That won’t change a whole lot.
On the power play with more player movement:
We’re trying to not be predictable. We’re trying to make sure we’re all moving. The penalty kill will tell you when guys are moving you have to look over your shoulder. When you force the penalty kill to move a little bit more it wears them down and an example is that goal we scored (against Buffalo on Tuesday). We had it there for a while and by a minute it gets pretty tiring for those guys. We were able to capitalize. That’s something we’re working on, interchanging and everybody playing different spots at some points. The main thing is movement and I think it has helped.
On how the change came about:
It’s something we wanted to do but also guys have to be comfortable with doing it too. With time, guys get used to reading each other and where guys want to go. That’s helped.
On staying sharp during a long layoff:
I don’t think there is anything like a game, no matter how much you practice. When I was in Vancouver I tried to get in some work. There weren’t too many practices and I was the third guy so I didn’t get too many shots. When I was in there I focused hard, worked out when I could, and these past two days have been good practice.
On if he practiced everyday in Vancouver:
No, we played 4:30 games so we did have practice that day. So we practiced every second day, sometimes not even every second day. It was different. I’m used to practicing every day and playing a lot. It was a little different.
On how long it takes to shake off the rust:
The past two days have been good practices and I felt better today than I did yesterday. That’s a good start.
With recently acquired Alexei Ponikarovsky unable to play in the game because of visa problems, the Penguins kept their same line combinations and defensive pairings from their 3-2 victory over Buffalo Tuesday night.
The Penguins take the ice at Madison Square Garden for their Thursday morning skate
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to make his first start in 18 days
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