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Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Semifinals Game 6: Capitals @ Penguins

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
The Inside Scoop:|PIT|home
"The Inside Scoop: Game 6 vs. Caps
Tuesday, 05.10.2016 / 1:30 PM ET / 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Defenseman Olli Maatta participated in the team’s optional skate on Tuesday morning and will be a game-time decision for Game 6 against the Washington Capitals at CONSOL Energy Center.
“I feel like it’s been a good progression,” he said. “No setbacks, so it’s been good.”
The 21-year-old said he will be ready if he does get cleared to return.
“Definitely I want to be there,” Maatta said. “We don’t know yet, but if I’m ready to go, I’m definitely hungry to play.”
Maatta suffered an upper-body injury in Game 2 on a late, high hit from former teammate Brooks Orpik, who will be back tonight after serving a three-game suspension he got for the check.
“I’ve said it a couple times, I think it’s done and over with,” Maatta said of the play. “It happens. (I don’t want) to talk about that anymore. It’s all about hockey now. We have a big game ahead of us. That’s where the focus is right now.”
The only Pens missing from the optional session were forwards Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Chris Kunitz and defenseman Kris Letang.
While the Pens missed an opportunity to eliminate the Caps in Game 5 on Saturday in Washington, they still have the upper hand with a 3-2 series lead.
“As we said to our guys, let’s embrace this challenge,” head coach Mike Sullivan said with a smile. “Let’s have fun with it and let’s go out and play our best. And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re excited to be a part of it. It’s terrific hockey and I think if you’re just a hockey enthusiast, you can’t help but be excited at this time of year.”
The guys are especially excited to have another chance to close out here at CONSOL Energy Center, just like they did in the First Round against the New York Rangers.
“It’s great playing in front of these fans,” center Nick Bonino said. “They’re loud, they’re excited. It’s fun to win in front of them as it was nice to close out last series at home. We’re hoping to do it again.”
Winger Carl Hagelin said being at home absolutely makes a difference.
“Always,” he said. “It’s always great to have your home crowd. They energize you and they really get the adrenaline pumping and that’s when you play your best games.”
When reflecting back on his experiences in elimination games, Hagelin said it will be important to open the scoring.
“I think obviously the first goal is key,” he said. “We’re going to try and get that tonight. I think in general, as a team we need to play our best game of the series. We know they’re going to bring their A-game so we have to match that.”
Despite coming off of a loss, the Pens are feeling confident about their play.
“I thought we did a lot of good things (in Game 5),” Crosby said. “It’s different if you go there and feel like you gave them the game, but I don’t think that was the case. We made a few mistakes. We definitely have to make sure we stay out of the box. But other than that, I thought we had some really good chances 5-on-5 and you just move on like any game.”
The biggest area the Pens need to improve, Bonino said, is special teams.
“I think we’re still not quite where we want to be,” he said. “Until the last game, it hadn’t hurt us. We’ve got to make it a little harder to them.”
After going 13-for-14 on the penalty kill in the first four games, the Pens allowed the Caps to convert two of three chances in their 3-1 win.
Defenseman Ian Cole, who’s averaging a team-high 3:36 shorthanded minutes per game these playoffs, told me the Pens talked about some things they can tweak this morning.
The biggest area of focus, he said, was discussing how to best transition into more of a passive, shot-blocking situation when they’re tired after being stuck on the ice for a minute or so and don’t have the energy to continue pressuring after a long shift while still taking Alex Ovechkin away.
“Because that’s really their main target,” Cole said of the Caps captain, who scored one power-play goal and set up the other in Game 5. “That’s where everything is generated, from him and then obviously across and shooting from the top. So the ability to kind of transition from more of a high-pressure go at them and take away space, to after a minute you’re tired and you’re not quite getting there, and then they place the seams. So we figured out how to best transition into that, and hopefully that’ll help us out.”
On the flip side, the Pens scored their first power-play goal of the series in Game 5 after going 0-for-14 in the first four games. While it was a boost to finally get one, they have to continue trending up in that part of the game.
“We scored once. It’s not bad,” center Evgeni Malkin said. “If we have a chance in the next game we will try to score, too. We have five guys, good guys. If we want to win like Washington (Saturday), they scored two goals, we will try to do the same at home.”"
Digital Preview:
Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Semifinals Game 6: Capitals @ Penguins
Fan Guide:|PIT|home
"Fan Guide: Penguins vs. Washington Capitals (Round 2, Home Game 3) 5.10.16
Monday, 05.9.2016 / 9:13 AM ET / Fan Guide
Pittsburgh Penguins
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The Penguins will wear their Pittsburgh Gold Third Jerseys
Be sure to stop by PensGear to purchase Tuesday’s Item of the Game – Player Name and Number Tee’s – just $21.99! Tuesday only – and only at PensGear!
Pittsburgh Gold Playoff T-Shirt presented by Dunkin’ Donuts
Pittsburgh Gold Playoff Rally Towel presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car
The 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins Playoffs are proudly presented by UPMC and AAA Auto Insurance.

8:00 PM
Doors will open at 6:30 PM
Ticketmaster | Ticket Exchange | Student Rush
Fans attending Tuesday’s game are reminded to use tickets marked “Round 2, Home Game 3” when entering CONSOL Energy Center.
Big Screen at First Niagara Fan Zone – Fans without tickets to Tuesday’s game are invited to catch the game on the Big Screen at the First Niagara Fan Zone located at the Peoples Gate! The First Niagara Fan Zone opens 3 hours before game time. All fans are invited to test their skills at a giant hockey inflatable, play interactive games, take advantage of free face painting and visit with Iceburgh and members of the Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew prior to the game!
Miller Lite Party Plaza – Enjoy 24 oz. Miller Lite beers for only $6 at the Miller Lite Party Plaza located at the Verizon Gate! Opening 3 hours before game time, the Miller Lite Party Plaza will help you get ready for the game with free interactive games and a DJ!
Bud Light Party Plaza - Enjoy 24 oz. Budweiser and Bud Light beers for only $6 at the Bud Light Party Plaza located at the Trib Total Media Gate! Opening 3 hours before game time, the Bud Light Party Plaza will help you get ready for the game with free interactive games and a DJ!
Food Trucks – Grab a bite to eat before the game with the Penguins Food Truck round up lining Centre Avenue! Food trucks scheduled to appear prior to Tuesday’s game include: Nakama, Franktuary, Dairy Queen, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pittsburgh Pierogi Truck, Las Chicas Mexican and Southside BBQ.
Bid to win one-of-a-kind Penguins items from the comfort of your seat with the new Penguins Foundation silent auction app! Visit from your smartphone to take home a unique piece of Penguins memorabilia Tuesday!
“The Bulliest Dozer,” co-written by Penguins center Eric Fehr, is now available for sale at the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation’s silent auction stand outside of the First Niagara Club. This children’s book about why bullying doesn’t pay is signed by Fehr for just $20. You can also purchase the book by using the Foundation’s mobile bidding app at
As a reminder, new walk-through metal detectors have been installed at CONSOL Energy Center. The walk-through detectors are part of a league-wide initiative by the NHL to enhance security and allow arenas to deliver a smoother, faster screening experience. Previously, fans entering the arena were screened by security personnel with wands. The NHL policy of searching all permitted bags will remain in place. The walk-through metal detectors will be used for Penguins games and all other events at CONSOL Energy Center.
Pittsburgh Penguins fans in attendance can get the VIP treatment with Upgrade Your Game! Upgrade Your Game offers fans access to once-in-a-lifetime Penguins experiences like in-seat visits with Iceburgh, pre-game Lexus Club dinner reservations, post-game photo shoots on the ice and premium seat upgrades! Simply download the Penguins app and register today under the “Upgrade Your Game” section!
Please note, only small personal bags (purses, baby or diaper bags, etc.) will be permitted inside CONSOL Energy Center and all items are subject to searches upon entrance. Large bags, coolers, backpacks and sealed packages of any kind are not permitted. In addition, CONSOL Energy Center allows only small, personal still-cameras equipped with a 3 inch lens or smaller. Cameras with detachable lenses or flashes are not permitted. For a complete list of frequently asked questions, please visit CONSOL Energy Center’s A to Z Guide.
Stop by “The Carvery” located by Section 107 to purchase Tuesday’s special chef-prepared creation: Smoked prime rib with provolone cheese, caramelized spring onion and horseradish cream on a Kaiser roll.
Premium Seat Holders, don’t forget to stop by an Action Station conveniently located inside the Captain Morgan and First Niagara Clubs to purchase Tuesday’s special: Carved turkey with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion served with mustard BBQ or mayo on a Kaiser roll.
For the kids, don’t miss the Kids Zone Menu at Sections 116 and 231 that includes kiddie sized sodas, popcorn, hot dogs and nachos for $2.75 each.
Pick up your tickets for the Penguins Foundation 50/50 raffle for a chance to win Tuesday’s jackpot. The more you play the more it pays. Proceeds from this season’s raffles benefit the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and the numerous charitable organizations it supports. Visit one of the concourse kiosks or watch for ticket sellers through the second intermission - the winning number will be announced in the third period."
Crosby, Malkin Want More:|PIT|home
"Crosby, Malkin Want More
Monday, 05.9.2016 / 4:19 PM ET / 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
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When Mike Sullivan became head coach of the Pens back on Dec. 12, he said the biggest challenge would be to take a group of great players and become a great team.
And now, on May 9, with his club having a chance to eliminate the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their second-round matchup – he feels they have done just that.
“That’s why we’ve been able to enjoy some of the success we’ve had the last couple of months,” he said. “We’ve had big plays from different people that step up at key times. I really believe that we have become the essence of a team in the sense that we don’t rely on any one or two or three guys to help this team win. It’s about the group. We all know that.”
And that’s why Sullivan isn’t singling out his franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for their relative lack of offensive production in the series after ranking 1 and 2 in team scoring during the first round with a combined 15 points (5G-10A).
“What we’re preaching to those guys, and to all of our guys, is to play the game the right way,” Sullivan said. “Let’s play the game hard, let’s play the game smart, let’s understand what our team concept is. And when we do that, everything else will take care of themselves.
“These guys are having an impact on the game. They may not have the offensive production everybody grows accustomed to with these guys, but they have certainly had an impact on this series – more so than I think (the media) gives them credit for. They share a tremendous amount of responsibility for our group and they’re doing everything within their power to help our team win.”
That all being said, moving forward those guys want to be the difference makers that they are – starting in Tuesday’s clinching scenario.
“I want to play better next game, of course,” said Malkin, who has one goal and one assist through five games. “I have a couple chances but I need to score, have more points, help the team to win.”
Crosby, who was named one of three finalists for NHL MVP on Saturday, agreed.
“You want to produce more,” said the captain, who has two helpers. “Individually, I’d like to create a little bit more around the net. You’ve got a better chance the more opportunities you’re able to generate.”
Crosby has been tasked with going up against All-Star center Nicklas Backstrom for most of the series. And ever since a tough outing in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1, Crosby has done a tremendous job – to the point where Caps head coach Barry Trotz moved Alex Ovechkin and TJ Oshie off Backstrom’s wings in Game 5 to get them away from that matchup.
However, Crosby said that it wasn’t enough for his line to simply be strong defensively.
“I think that’s more to be expected than it is to really kind of hang your hat on it,” Crosby said. “I think offensively, that’s where we have to make sure that we’re creating things and having an impact on the game and I think we’ve done some good things.
“They’re low-scoring games, there’s not a lot of room and space out there. We’ve done some good things and created some goals out there, but regardless, I think you always want more. You always want more opportunities; you always want to have more of an impact and find ways to score goals.”
When asked how those two could find those ways to get going in the offensive zone with their respective lines – Crosby practiced between Patric Hornqvist and Conor Sheary while Malkin skated with Chris Kunitz and Eric Fehr – Sullivan said for him it begins with getting shots on goal.
“I think ‘Sid’ and ‘Geno’ are working down low,” Sullivan said. “They had a lot of zone time in (Game 5). They had a lot of possession time. I think as a whole, as a team, even though we generated a somewhat decent amount of shots (31) I think we can look to continue to simplify our game and get pucks to the net a little bit more.
“I think a lot of times a shot on goal breaks coverage down better than any pass or play. Sometimes, instead of looking for that next pass I think we can look to put the puck to the net more and then go to the net. That’s the nature of playoff hockey. The teams that are left are very good defending teams. They make you work for your chances. And so sometimes the best play is putting the puck on the net and looking for those next play opportunities off of that rebound.”
Crosby and Malkin certainly expect more from themselves, but they aren’t getting discouraged.
“We know it’s a tough series, we’re playing against a good team,” Malkin said. “We play good at home, we won two games (against the Caps here) before. It’s our home. Just play the same. Just try to score a couple more goals, not just one. It’s not enough.”"
Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Semifinals Game 6: Capitals @ Penguins
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Are we ready?!! Let's Go Pens!!
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Pens looking good in the 1st period.
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