Back to Work
Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 2:21 PM / 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
All of the Penguins players except for injured defenseman Matt Niskanen hit the ice around 11:15 a.m. and went through a spirited half-hour practice that was, well, normal.
The skate began with their usual 5-on-0 line rushes over the full length of the ice, followed by a number of flow drills and then some work on the power-play units (for more on the different combinations they used, click here).
And while the atmosphere was purposeful and brisk, also present at practice were the normal, animated chirps, hoots and hollers from the players during drills that signified going down 1-0 in a seven-game series isn’t the end of the world.
“That’s the good thing about this team. I think everyone has fun every day,” forward James Neal said. “This is just another day and another practice for us. We’ve got to go out and keep an upbeat attitude and stay on our toes and keep the excitement going. One loss isn’t going to kill us here. We’re ready to go for (Friday).”
The Penguins certainly aren’t pleased with the way they let a 3-0 lead transform into a 1-0 series deficit on Wednesday night. The team hit the ice a little later than scheduled because of an extensive video session dissecting what went wrong in the contest. They’ve pinpointed the areas where they got away from their game and let the Flyers back into it, and addressed them accordingly during the skate.
But no matter how it happened, a 1-0 deficit is a 1-0 deficit. The Penguins can’t let the manner in which they lost detrimentally affect their focus or their mental makeup moving forward. All they can do is prepare for what lies ahead.
“The best thing for us to do is move on right away, make sure it’s behind us,” defenseman Kris Letang said. “We have to learn from it and we have to move on. It’s a seven-game series. It’s not the end of the world if we lose a game. We have to turn the page and make sure we’re ready for the next game.”
“I think today you come to practice and try to adjust or make changes in things you want to do better going into the game tomorrow,” added captain Sidney Crosby. “We know that that game’s over and we’ve got to make sure we’re better.”
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury knows all about how to shake off tough losses and prepare for the game ahead. He wouldn't be as successful as he is at this level if he didn’t.
And Fleury – who engaged in his usual razzing of teammates when they failed to put pucks past him this morning – said he believes this veteran group is in that same mindset heading into Game 2.
“Definitely a tough loss last night,” he said. “So I think we’ve got to find ways to learn from it, definitely, but put it in the back of our heads right away. Get back at it and be ready for (Game 2).”