Penguins-Senators Game Day (Game 6)
Saturday, 04.24.2010 / 10:28 AM ET / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
Sound heard around the Penguins locker room:
On Game 5:
They played well. I think if you look at the game I think they had a better first (period). We played better in the second and third. Overtime was about 50-50. In the first period we didn’t play so well and we gave up two goals. That was probably the difference when you look at it. We don’t think we played a terrible game – we just thought we could have started better. Anything can happen in overtime. We weren’t disappointed with the game but we still think we can get better in some areas.
On how Bylsma has changed at all:
I think he is the same coach that we all met whenever it was last year. Everything is pretty much the same.
On why the road teams have been so successful:
I have no idea. You don’t usually see that. I think when you go on the road I think you simplify things. I think for both teams that has kind of worked for them in every situation so far. We want that to continue.
On Pittsburgh’s success in Ottawa:
I don’t think we really think about that at this point. I think on the road you have to have a certain sense of confidence in your game and what you are going to expect. I think we have a good idea of that and I think that is the most important thing. You can have all the experience but you still have to go out and do the job.
On winning their last four series on the road:
I just think that is how it falls. We are really strong down the middle so when teams match their players against us we can take advantage of some of the other lines. Everyone has been chipping in when we are on the road. I don’t know what the reason is but we play well on the road. We are looking forward to doing that again tonight.
On how the team feels after a long overtime game:
It is like every other game. You think about it for five minutes and you think about the things you did good. The coaches showed the clips and some things we can get better at. It’s a learning experience. You just have to get ready for Game 6 and let it go.
On Ottawa’s mentality:
They are living on the edge. They know if they lose then they are out. They were a desperate team and they started the game playing their system better than we did. We got in a hole early and that is probably why we ended up losing the game.
On if the physicality will be there tonight:
I would assume so. Our team likes to come out hard and put pucks behind their D. If we are physical we know we are going to get chances later on in the game. That is something our team looks forward to – putting pucks behind them and being physical.
On where he is mentally and physically after Game 5:
We are right where we need to be. We talked about the game yesterday and what we did wrong and some things we did right; we did have to do tonight to be successful. Whether you lose in triple overtime or by five goals in regulation, a loss is a loss. We have another chance tonight to close out the series. Our focus tonight is going to be on getting off to a much better start than we did on Thursday.
On closing series on the road:
That is tough to say, what makes a team a good road team. I think when we are playing our best hockey it is simple hockey, it’s getting pucks deep and getting a good forecheck. Sometimes that is “ugly” or not pretty hockey but sometimes that is a lot easier to do on the road than it is at home. I don’t know if you get a mentality at home where you want to play a prettier game and you want to have tic-tac-toe plays but that is not our game. We are comfortable on the road and we have played pretty well on the road.
On what the Penguins can do to solve Leclaire:
We didn’t get nearly enough traffic in front of him. If you look at a lot of the goals we scored in the first four games it seemed like there was always somebody there in front taking away his eyes. We had a lot of clips from last game where he saw every puck.
On the team’s success on the road:
I think it is just everything falling into place. We enjoy playing on the road. I think we take it as a bigger challenge. It has worked out for us. We have put the work in too. We do the right things. Hopefully we can do the right things tonight.
On how he feels after Game 5:
I feel great. We had a day off yesterday and just had a travel day. I feel fantastic.
On what they can do to solve Leclaire:
I think we can spend some more time in their zone and in front of the net and things like that. He played a great game the other night but we have to do a better job of getting there.
On game-to-game momentum:
I am a believer in that game – the game that is happening right now. It doesn’t matter when you win or lose, it’s what happens during that game.
Sounds from head coach Dan Bylsma's press conference:
On Chris Conner playing in Game 6:
We are going to go game-time on our lineup, but he will be out there for warm ups.
On road teams playing well in the playoffs:
It has more to do with the mindset of particular games. I think Game 1, they had more urgency, desperation and got to their game better than we did. Last game when it was a must win, do or die, they played a very good hard game. They came out and got the early lead. It was a credit to the way they played. They battled hard and made it tough on us, blocking shots and with the way they played defense.
On Conner and Lovejoy:
Conner, right in his first call up in Columbus, we had him getting to the net. In other games I saw his effectiveness with his speed up the wing and speed getting to the net. He also has a lot of spark with his speed. It’s not just in the neutral zone where he has more ice to skate. It’s coming out of the corners as well. That’s what he’s been able to do. I’ve been with Ben Lovejoy a long time and seen his game develop. He’s an outstanding defender, great penalty killer, good skater. He’s really mature in dealing with the puck, dealing with pressure going back for pucks, and execution, making smart reads. He added a huge level of consistency over the years. He’s shown this year that he can do that in the National Hockey League and be effective playing 16, 17, 18 minutes going against good players.
On Kris Kunitz’s physical play:
That’s a big part of his game. There is a tenacity and growl to his game. When he’s effective he’s bringing that and other teams are aware on the forecheck, and finishing his checks. He’s definitely brought that in great numbers so far in this series. He’s been a factor in getting to their defense and backing off their defense. It’s also opened up a little more for his line. They’ve been able to capitilize on that. He’s been a big factor on that line. He needs to keep that going.
On his adjustments over the five games:
We made some small adjustments on special teams, pretty much every game. We’ve recognized areas where we have to be aware of and better at against this team that we’ve emphasized, particularly against their D. When they have played well against us and got scoring chances, their D has jumped into the play. We need to be aware. Games 2, 3 and 4 we’ve been good at controlling that with a good F3 and responsible men back. We were not as good in Game 5 of that. We’ve made some points of emphasis. They are a part of our game plan. They aren’t really changes, but areas where we need to be aware of and good at against this team.
Here are pictures from the Penguins morning skate at Scotiabank Place:
Sidney Crosby looks ready to build upon his dominant showing thus far in the series.
Sounds heard around the Senators locker room:
Head Coach Cory Clouston
On the success of the road teams in the series:
To be honest, I don’t know. Maybe you are playing looser and there is not as much pressure when you’re not in front of the home crowd. Sometimes those things work out. I wish I could give you a specific answer to that but I really don’t know.
On moving Alfredsson to Fisher’s line and why he made that decision:
A lot of it has to do with if it is broke, fix it. Things weren’t going very well so we wanted to make slight adjustments based upon who was coming out on the ice next for them. We wanted to make sure that we had two lines that we felt comfortable with defensively. We wanted to maybe free another line up offensively. I’m not going to go into too many more specifics but fortunately it worked out for us.
On how he would have his players change their strategy if the other team was blocking a lot of their shots:
You would have to ask the other team. I am the wrong guy to ask about that.
On if he changed the team mentality to block shots or if that is something the team wants to do:
It is definitely a system thing. We know that against a skilled team like Pittsburgh which wants to put a lot of shots on net we definitely have to get as many bodies into shooting lanes as we can. Fortunately we have a lot of guys who are willing to do that – and not just defensemen but forwards as well. I think it showed in our wins when we were willing to and able to. I think that is the difference. I think we have always been willing to. In the second game at their barn we tried to get into shooting lanes, we just didn’t. It obviously cost us the winning goal but for the most part we have done a real good job of getting into the shooting lanes.
On going head-to-head with Kris Letang in Game 4:
I am not sure if I can comment on one person like that. I think that as a team they are a stingy team. They play you hard and they play their system and their structure really well. They have the ability to come and attack with the best of them. He is a guy who can move the puck well and he plays physical too.
On a win like Game 5 bringing a team closer together:
Anytime you are in this situation where your back is against the wall like it was for us we knew we had to come together and pull out a gutsy effort and we did. That helps – there is no question. Obviously we are still with our backs against the wall today as well. We have faced that situation though and I thought we handled it really good. Does that mean we are going to do that tonight? I hope so. It doesn’t guarantee anything but it gives us the confidence to go out there with the right attitude. We know we can’t just go out there and play OK. We can’t afford to make too many mistakes because then the season will be over. We have to play a real good game for 60 minutes at least. We know that.
On the Senators mindset going into Game 6:
I think it is the same one as a couple of days ago. We are in the same situation. If we don’t win tonight then we are going home. (Game 5 in) Pittsburgh was a good win for us. It gave us a little confidence to feel good about ourselves. We are really aware of the task in front of us. I know we are repeating ourselves but it is what it is. We do feel confident and we are really excited about getting another shot at it.
On the Game 5 win bringing the team closer together:
Hopefully, but I think we already had a pretty tight group. I think all year through the tough times that is what helped us get out of the rough stretches. We have a good team here and guys are getting along really good so I don’t think we needed a little extra but it did give us a little confidence. We are still alive and the pressure is still not on us. We should go out there and play and try to have fun and hopefully we can get the win.
On if he got stronger as Game 5 went along:
I felt good right off the bat. The more you get shots in the game the more comfortable it gets. If you talk to any goaltender in the league, it’s easier to get 40 or 50 shots than it is to get 15. You don’t think as much you just react to stuff. We had a few bounces go our way too so if you put all that together it was good. I feel pretty good right now.
On picking up where he left off:
I think the most important thing is to put whatever happened behind me and not to think about it. If you try to come in tonight and do too much and try to copy what you did then that is not going to work. You have to take it shot by shot and we will see what happens.
On teams changing the way they play mentally at home:
I think sometimes that is what happens. Maybe you try to put on a little show for the fans. I think if we play that same type of game we played in Pittsburgh, maybe simpler, and just worry about ourselves and not about whatever is going on outside of our team, we will put ourselves in decent shape.
The Penguins wait patiently as the Zamboni finishes cleaning the ice at Scotiabank Place so that they can conduct their morning skate.
Pascal Leclaire was the hero in Game 5 after making 56 saves.
The Senators are on the ice for their morning skate at Scotiabank Place. The line combinations looked as follows: