Penguins-Senators Game Day (Game 4)
Tuesday, 04.20.2010 / 10:43 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On defending Alfredsson and Spezza:
I don’t think I’m all that happy with what we’ve been able to do. They still have gotten some good looks. Spezza right in Game 2, they were three inches from leading 2-1 in that game with eight minutes to go. That would have changed the complexity of the game. Had they won that game, being up 2-0 would be huge for them. They’ve gotten looks. They’ve gotten chances. They two chances in the slot las game that Brooks Orpik had to block. That was a four-on-two. We still need to do a better job and be aware of situations that they’re in when they’re on the ice, and playing against them. One are where I think our team has done a better job, a good job, especially the last two games, is we’ve had a responsible F3 in the offensive zone. We’ve tracked pucks quickly, allowing your D to have a good gap. When you do that it’s tough for anybody to have the space that they need. We need to continue to get better at that.
On putting a strangle hold on the series:
It’s a challenge. We talked about the challenge coming in here for Game 3 knowing they were coming back home to their fans. I think this will be Ottawa’s best game tonight. That’s what we’re expecting tonight. Playoffs are about the next game and establishing your game. It’s about the seven games. You need to keep on your game and keep on the grind and physical factor of playing the series. We need to make sure we get the execution that we need to get to the offensive zone, to be physical. I expect this one to be their best game tonight.
On why Crosby is so good even though opponents focus on him:
He has a great sense, even with a little space, of gaining position on a player. Once you do you have that body position and skating ability to take very little space and get to the net. You see that with the goal last game. He didn’t have a lot of space there. He was on the forecheck and he created the turnover with his stick, and established body position right away. He’s able to capitalize and maintain body position all the way to the net. That’s something you try to teach and talk about. It’s also an innate ability that Sid has, combined with the skills to get to the net. That’s him creating space for himself. It’s not the first time he’s done that.
It is interesting. What he’s done goal-scoring wise in this league is something that all of us in this room can’t fathom. He certainly will try to add a spark to this team, come in and do what he does. We have to be aware of the situations he’s in and who we’re playing against. Fortunately for them they can add a player like that. They’ve had some injuries and have been dealing with that. Now they can add an offensive threat to scoring goals. Our challenge is to be aware of the situations that he’s in and keep him from becoming an offensive factor in the series.
On if he watches other playoff games for enjoyment or strategy:
I think it’s more for enjoyment. We have a group of guys together just hanging out. It’s a fun time of the year. I think it’s more to relax. Some guys prefer not to watch as much. Some guys like to get away. Some guys like to watch. I like to watch. It’s interesting to see what goes on. It’s fun to see the intensity. That’s just trying to get together and spend time together.
On if Game 4 is a must win:
We know we’ll see their best. We feel like we can improve too. We have to make sure our desperation is there and that we’re sharp. It comes back to the same mindset as last game. We know they’re going to come hard. We have to focus on ourselves and setting the tone. We got that big goal to start the game last game. It might not be that but our play has to be there and we have to dictate things early on.
On how long it takes to learn about the other team:
I think you have a pretty good feel at this point. It’s pretty rare. Things throw a lot of different things at you but that’s the challenge. Both teams are trying to do that. That’s the challenge at this point. We continue to adjust and try to find ways to create things, defend but when you get to this point you’ve pretty much seen everything.
On Game 4:
Every game is big. You always want to get an edge. Tonight is a chance for us to do that, and get a lead in the series. Hopefully we can win
Sounds heard around the Senators locker room:
On lineup changes:
Cheech (Jonathan Cheechoo) will, yeah.
On what he expects from Cheechoo:
Hopefully he can bring some energy, some strong play around the net and if need be chip in offensively.
On how Alfredsson feels:
You would have to ask him, but I’m sure he is feeling pretty good.
On why Alfredsson missed the morning skate:
No, there is no reason.
On expecting Alfredsson to play:
I fully expect that, yes.
On why he chose Cheechoo over Donovan:
One brings a little bit more speed, obviously. We thought that Jonathan had a really good playoff last year (with San Jose). He has a history of scoring goals. Right now that is what we think we need more of. He is somebody who if he gets an opportunity, he can change the game with one shot. Right now we feel he is one of those types of players.
On if that is the only lineup change:
Yes. Ryan Shannon comes out.
On what the Senators might change offensively to generate more goals:
We have to pull the trigger. We had by our count at least five or six chances where we had point-blank shots and we just missed nets or kicked off sticks or off skates. It was the same as (Game 2). We talked about Alfredsson and (Jason) Spezza having three or four really good shots in the slot. We just have to make good of those. If we score a couple of those early in the second period it changes the whole outcome of the game. They capitalized on their chances and we didn’t. By our count the chances were 10-9 so both teams were playing tight. There are not a lot of opportunities out there. You just have to make the best of them.
On Mike Fisher shadowing Crosby:
Yeah, we have had certain guys on certain lines at different times. He has done some damage on the power play. I think he has gotten four or five points on the power play so we feel five-on-five – a lot of the damage hasn’t really been there. We’ll see tonight who we match up against him. He plays on a lot of different lines. He is a guy they use really well. They use him intelligently. He doesn’t always go out there with the same guys. You can’t necessarily match up with one specific guy against him. It’s very difficult to do that. We’ll see what we have tonight.
On how much he draws from his postseason experience:
It’s something where I have been there most of my career. My first year (San Jose) missed it but (the Sharks) were there every other year (I was there). I know what it takes. It’s a little bit tougher and grittier. (The referees) let a few more calls go. It’s something where you have to battle a little bit more to get to the front of the net to score goals. Hopefully I can do that tonight.
On added pressure on him:
No, not really. I get nervous before most games. I still get that feeling. I love playing and I want to produce. I might be a little bit more nervous because it’s my first game of the playoffs but I will try to control those emotions.
On making good on a season which didn’t go the way he wanted it to:
I look at it as a chance to help this team out any way I can. I’m going to come in here and work my hardest. Hopefully I am able to bring a positive result.
On the Ottawa mindset heading into Game 4:
We obviously just have to look forward to tonight. We have to get ourselves mentally ready and prepared. We are trying to improve in a lot of different areas. We still have a game at home here. We can’t look past tonight. Everyone just has to be at their best as a team.
On shadowing Crosby:
I don’t know. We will talk about that right before the game. I would love the challenge. I have played against him quite a bit in the past. For me it wouldn’t be easy, but I would enjoy trying to do that job.
On the key to eliminating Crosby:
You just have to try to keep him to the outside and not let him get into the areas where he is deadly. That is not easy to do. It is not just one guy it is a team effort out there making sure we are not turning pucks over so they aren’t generating speed going the other way. In our end we just have to be physical on them. We have to get in his face and make it hard on him. We can do a better job of that.
On generating more traffic in front of Fleury:
That is our plan. He is seeing too many pucks right now. We have to make sure that we are in those scoring areas looking for rebounds because he is giving them up and sometimes we haven’t stopped and been there. We have to make that effort to get into those areas and make it happen.
Here are pictures from the Penguins morning skate at Scotiabank Place:
No surprises with head coach Dan Bylsma's offensive lines as the Penguins hit the ice:
Senators head coach Cory Clouston just finished addressing reporters at Scotiabank Place. Among the highlights from his media conference are that he "fully expects" captain Daniel Alfredsson to be in the lineup. Also, Jonathan Cheechoo "will play" in Game 4. Cheechoo will take Ryan Shannon's spot.
Ottawa is on the ice for the morning skate and the big news from Scotiabank Place is that Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is not on the ice. Veteran Shean Donovan is skating in his place with Jason Spezza and Peter Regin. Alfredsson briefly left Game 3 after absorbing a thunderous check from the Penguins Sidney Crosby during the second period, but maintained he was OK during Monday's optional skate.
Former 56-goal scorer Jonathan Cheechoo also appears as though he will rejoin the lineup tonight for the Senators. Cheechoo had three points (1G-2A) in four games against Pittsburgh this season.
We will update you on the Senators lineup as soon as head coach Cory Clouston addresses reporters following the skate.