One thing you have to love, whether you’re a fan of his or not, is that Michel Therrien demands the best out of his players.
After allowing 49 shots to the New Jersey Devils in a 2-1 loss on Saturday, Therrien put the players through extensive drills in order to simulate the way the team should skate during games.
Pittsburgh went through a rigorous practice session, as head coach Michel Therrien had the team skate various sprints, including the length of the ice, the width of the ice and to the far blue line and back.
“Everybody’s feeling it, especially in the legs,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “That’s a good workout and that how we have to play. We have to play hard no matter what the system is. The main thing is to go out and work hard.”
Therrien also had players battle each other for loose pucks along the boards.
“Those are the details of the game,” he said. “It sends a message to the players. That’s unacceptable to lose too many battles. You’re not going to win all the battles. We’re in the NHL. We understand that we play against good hockey teams, experienced hockey teams but I’m expecting a better percentage of winning battles.”
– Sam Kasan, Penguins.com
The Flyers come to Pittsburgh with a 0-2-0 record, losing to respectable opponents in the Rangers and Canadiens.
The atmosphere for Pens vs. Flyers games is unique compared to any other opponent on the schedule (except for Detroit, maybe, this season). Therefore, I’d expect to see as good of a performance as the Pens can exert out on the ice.
With a day off, though it was greuling, the Pens have a little more rest than the Flyers, who lost to Montreal last night.
However, this early on in the season that shouldn’t matter.
If there’s a team that has possibly been worse that Pittsburgh on the power play this season, it is Philadelphia. The Flyers have yet to score on the power play in six chances.
What also works in the Penguins’ favor is that the Flyers are allowing goals. Nine in two games means Pittsburgh might just break out of its funk.
Petr Sykora could potentially be in the lineup, which would aid the offense. He has been out of the lineup all season thus far with a groin injury. However, he has skated in each of the last three games and looks to be a game-time decision.
“I’m assuming we’re going to make a decision tomorrow,” Therrien said. “If he’s OK to play, he’ll play. We’ll see tomorrow.”
“My conditioning is not where I want it to be but I think with my game I can get away with it,” Sykora said. “I can play smart and in good position. I can really be on the strong side of the puck all the time and not make stupid mistakes where I’ll put myself in a position where I’ll have to skate more, just play smart hockey.”
Dupuis was on the first line, and I hope that changes. This early on in the year, I’d like to see Crosby, Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko play together and develop chemistry.
What will be more important that anything is how the Penguins respond to Saturday’s loss. Whether they win or lose, the team needs to play three full periods of hockey and show life on offense.
30 shots would be nice … how ’bout match the Flyers average and score four, maybe five goals?
I will be at the game, and will post late tonight my game notes, as well as pictures from the arena.
Be sure to stop back!
~ Chris @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk