Penguins-Senators Game Day (Game 3)
Sunday, 04.18.2010 / 9:21 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
The famous murial outside the locker rooms depictating the Senators and Penguins handshake after the Ottawa knocked out Pittsburgh in the 2007 quarterfinals is gone. it's been painted over. The murial was used by the Penguins in their 2008 quarterfinals sweep of the Senators as motivation.
The wall now (left); and the wall just a few months ago in the regular season (right).
The Scotiabank Place workers were busy during the morning skate setting up every seat in the arena with a white rally towel. Expect to see those twirled around tonight from the Senators faithful. The towel features the Senators logo with the phrase "ALL IN ALL RED."
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On if the intensity of Game 2 will continue in Game 3:
Yeah, it was more intense from the start. As you go along it’s a natural progression and we should see that here tonight.
On what defensive attention he expects to see from Ottawa:
The same. It didn’t really matter when we were in Pittsburgh so I don’t think it will matter in Ottawa.
On Jay McKee getting into the lineup:
He’s experienced. He’s a guy that prides himself on being strong back there defensively. He blocks a lot of shots and he’s been through it before. He’s a guy that can come in and we feel pretty comfortable.
On handling the Ottawa crowd:
We know they’re going to come hard and set the tone, as we would at home. We know they’ll have energy but we should too. We want to make sure we come out hard ourselves.
On if he feels Ottawa has contained him:
It’s the playoffs, you’re not going to get a ton (of chances). I’d love to create something every time I’m out there. That’s not always going to be the case. That’s what you face in the playoffs. You have to execute it. You try every time to create something. You don’t accept not getting chances. That’s the way it is in the playoffs. You have to make the most of the chances you get.
On his power skating moves:
You work on that stuff constantly. You never know when you’re going to have to use it. Balance and things like that are important, especially playing against bigger guys and trying to get around them and get away from them. Those are things that help. You never know when you’re going to use them. Those are things you work on and hope helps you at some point.
On if the Penguins have the momentum:
It’s one game. Even when we lost it was still one game. We were happy we were rewarded with our hard work. Sometimes in the playoffs you play well and still don’t win. It was nice to be rewarded but we know it doesn’t get any easier. We know we have adjust like we did in Game 2 but still keep that same mentality going after it. We want to build off that. It was nice to be rewarded for that.
On if he exchanges chatter with opponents:
Not a lot. Not that much. I do talk to the guys, the defense. I tell them if they have time or if there is a guy on them.
On if the Penguins have the momentum:
It feels way better after a win. We all know that it’s still early in the series. Nothing is won. It’s a best of seven and we’re still far from that.
On facing Ottawa at home:
They’ll be reenergized coming back. It’s their home building, their crowd. Something we talked about was not turning the puck over as much and not getting on the forecheck. I thought our forecheck was crucial to our success in games.
On getting back to wearing teams down:
Game 1 we were pretty disappointed in our inconsistent play. In Game 2 I thought we wore them down the whole game. When it was 1-1 there was no doubt in our locker room that we were going to win the game. Maybe they had a false sense of confidence. They knew the way we were playing that they were in a lot of trouble.
On Jay McKee:
He has a lot of experience. I grew up in Buffalo so I remember watching Buffalo when they had that (Stanley Cup) run and he was huge for them in that run. He brings a lot of leadership and experience. He’s a guy that keeps us up. He’s always composed in these situations. I’m sure he’ll fit right in.
Below are some of the sounds heard around the Senators locker room following the morning skate earlier today:
Senators Head Coach Cory Clouston
On getting Alfredsson more involved:
A little bit of both. I think they have generated some offense. Again, if you look at the first game or the second game, if you overlap the two, we need to be a little better. That includes everybody. We just need to shoot the puck a little bit more and go to the net. That line needs to shoot the puck a little bit more. (Jason) Spezza has had two or three point-blank shots from the slot and he has missed the net. Alfie (Daniel Alfredsson) had one as well. They just have to be a little bit more accurate with their shots, be a little bit more tenacious around the net and have a little bit more net presence as a whole line in general.
On the 6:30 p.m. starting time affecting preparation:
No, a half hour here or there shouldn’t affect anything. We should be ready. We will be OK.
On preventing the Penguins from playing the style of hock they want to play:
I think they were just a little bit more intense and had a little more urgency than we did. They got pucks in deep and pressured our defensemen more than we did. That was basically the bottom line. They were hungrier than we were. When we got pucks in deep we didn’t have a presence on the forecheck, we weren’t hard enough on their defense and it was the exact opposite when they got pucks in deep on us. They were a little more tenacious. They had two or three guys around the puck when we usually only had one. We didn’t have enough guys to the net. When we did have shots we didn’t have enough traffic.
On playing in front of the home crowd:
We hope it helps us win the game. Hopefully we can feed off it. Pittsburgh generated some momentum off of the crowd. We hope our crowd is as loud as theirs. For the most part they have all year. If they get those towels waving then it will be pretty fun out there.
On not having Phillips and Volchenkov out against Crosby on the winning goal Friday:
That goal didn’t necessarily have to do with that. It was one of those plays where Crosby did a great job of protecting the puck. We kept him to the outside. It was just a floater from the blue line that sneaked through. If we are going to give up a shot we are going to give up those shots. We generally get into the shooting lane and block those. Unfortunately it had eyes and found the back of our net. Crosby did a great job protecting the puck but I liked how we kept him to the perimeter.
On getting the pairings they want:
I guess we will find out. It’s always in your best advantage to have the last change. Hopefully we can get the matchups which will get us the win tonight.
On playing at home:
Yeah, it’s going to be great and exciting. There is going to be a lot of energy in here tonight.
On having to play hungrier:
I think you can always bring more. I think the Penguins brought a lot of energy. They finished more checks than we did in that game. We have to amp up that part of our game a little bit and play a little bit harder on and off the puck.
On expecting the intensity to keep increasing:
That is a tough question because every game is separate from each other. Everything is based up on the score and what is happening during the game. You can’t look at the past. Win or lose you don’t look at the past. Emotionally you just try to focus on your own game.
On having to prove they could play with the Penguins:
We haven’t talked even once about the fact that they were the Stanley Cup champions last season. That was in the past. Last year I think we were 3-1 against them and we never talked about it. We know what we are capable of doing. We have to do it on the ice to have a good chance at winning.
On both teams receiving secondary scoring:
You obviously want to shut their top guys out and keep everybody else off the scoreboard. We need offense from every line and the power play and penalty kill have to be working too. There is no secret. Everybody knows how tight these games are.
On the importance of Game 3:
For us, I think it is more important than just statistically. We want to grab momentum and use our crowd. We are excited to be home now. We have played well in this rink this year and we want to keep that going.
On the pressure he and Alfredsson might be feeling:
No, I don’t think so. It has only been two games. When you look back into previous years, we just have to try to win games – whether that is with us scoring goals or not. The first game we scored a lot of goals as a team and played good defense to make sure they didn’t tie it up. Obviously we are looked at to contribute offensively but we are not going to go out of our way and take careless chances to get on the scoreboard to appease everybody.
On Ottawa’s power-play approach:
We were good the first game but we weren’t as good last game. In a long series it becomes tougher and tougher to score on the power play because I think the other team adjusts. It’s easier to make penalty kill adjustments than it is to make power play adjustments. We just have to do a better job of winning faceoffs, getting pucks on net and creating more traffic.
On how much the dynamic changes playing at home:
You get last change. During faceoffs you get to put your stick in there second. There are just little things that come with playing at home that make things a little bit easier on you. You get the crowd. You hope the crowd can bring momentum to you. We feed off the energy of the crowd a lot of nights. It’s always a comforting feeling to be at home.
On defending Crosby on Friday’s game-winning goal:
We played him pretty good. We kept him to the outside and we were all surrounding the net. We weren’t giving them much offensively there. We were covering guys in the slot. (Kris) Letang made a nice shot and it kind of got through a couple of guys and Ells (Brian Elliott) didn’t see it. They had a lot of traffic on Ells and we have to do the same thing (to Fleury).
Head coach Dan Bylsma addressed reporters following the morning skate. Here is what Bylsma had to say:
On Johnson’s condition:
You saw him on the ice today so he is doing a lot better and is symptom-free from what he was dealing with before. He will not back up tonight but he is progressing well. Hopefully we will see him at practice tomorrow.
On Leopold’s condition:
Jordan did not come on the trip with us. He stayed back in Pittsburgh for further evaluation. We didn’t think that he would be playing in these two games so he didn’t come with us.
On how the change in venue will affect how the series is played:
I think anytime you change venues in a series I think you take a deep breath on the plain ride here as the home team. I think you get re-energized by coming back home to your home rink so this is a re-establishment of your game for me tonight. They get their fans, their building and their energy. They split in Pittsburgh so they come back home having accomplished quite a bit. They are ready to play Game 3 at home. We played a much better game in Game 2 and want to continue what we started and how we played and get better at our game. We have that challenge here on the road. The first 10 minutes will be pretty amped up here in the building so we will expect that.
There were two notable items from Bylsma's morning skate press conference:
A) Jordan Leopold did not accompany the team to Ottawa, and therefore will not play in Games 3 and 4 of the series
B) Brent Johnson, although was back on the ice, will not be the backup tonight for Marc-Andre Fleury. That duty will fall once again to Brad Thiessen.
Goaltender Brent Johnson was back on the ice for the team
Head coach Dan Bylsma (left); assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald (right)
The Penguins did not skate in their morning line combinations, a playoff tradition under Dan Bylsma. But there were two notable players on the ice for the Penguins. Goaltender Brent Johnson skated and practiced for the first time since Game 1 of the series. And defenseman Ben Lovejoy joined the team after his recent call up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Head coach Cory Clouston (right)
Brian Lee (right)
Brian Elliott (right)
The Ottawa Senators are playing soccer just outside the media work hub. I can hear the bang and echo of the ball, as well as the "ooooohs," "aaaaaahs" and general carping of the guys. The Senators have a 9:45 a.m. morning skate scheduled.
The Penguins, who just arrived on the team bus a few moments ago, will be on the ice at 10:30 a.m. at Scotiabank Place. The two teams meet tonight in Game 3 of the quarterfinals in a 6:30 p.m. tilt.