Penguins Notebook: Maintaining composure key vs. Flyers


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Philadelphia can beat opponents in a lot of ways.

The Flyers can do it with physicality -- they ranked second in the league in hits before Tuesday with 631 -- and they can do it with the finesse of skilled forwards such as Claude Giroux and Daniel Briere.

And, at least when they're facing the Penguins, the Flyers can do it with their mouths. And their elbows. And their sticks.

And just about anything else Philadelphia believes can get the Penguins to lose their composure and focus, which has happened more than a few times in recent seasons.

Dangerous as the Flyers, who will face the Penguins on Thursday night, can be between the whistles, they also have done some effective work against the Penguins after them.

"They're going to play the same way, over and over," Penguins right winger Pascal Dupuis said after practice Tuesday at Southpointe. "We have to manage it better.

"It's one thing to know what they're going to do. To react the right way is something we have to do."

The Penguins' 3-1 victory in Philadelphia in the regular-season opener provided a template for how they want to play and, in the process, how they want to deal with the Flyers. Their 6-5 loss to Philadelphia Feb. 20 at Consol Energy Center showed what can happen when they stray from that formula, which is easy to do in such an intense rivalry.

"You can feel the emotion of the game, but you have to keep it under wraps," left winger Chris Kunitz said. "You have to be able to go out and work hard. It's something we need to work at, as a team, to get better at through the whole year."

Martin takes full practice

Defenseman Paul Martin participated in a full practice Tuesday for the first time since being injured in the 4-1 loss Thursday at Carolina.

Whether he'll be ready to rejoin the lineup for the Flyers game remains to be seen.

Martin worked out on the ice with conditioning coach Mike Kadar before the practice -- he engaged in some "battle drills" then, as well as in the main workout -- and said he expects to be back there with Kadar again today, even though the team has a scheduled day off.

"We'll see how [today] goes," Martin said. "I'm going to skate. It's been getting better every day."

Nashville claims Boychuk

Nashville claimed winger Zach Boychuk, who the Penguins put on waivers Monday to open a long-term spot on their 23-man roster for center Evgeni Malkin as he came off injured reserve.

Boychuk, claimed from Carolina on waivers Jan. 31, did not have a point in seven games with the Penguins despite getting considerable playing time on Malkin's line.

Kostopoulos signs contract

The Penguins signed blue-collar winger Tom Kostopoulos to a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 in the NHL.

He was placed on waivers at noon Tuesday. If he clears at noon today, he will be assigned to their minor league team in Wilkes-Barre.

Kostopoulos, 34, was the Penguins' seventh-round choice in 1999 and played for them between 2001-04, putting up 10 goals and 16 assists in 79 regular-season games.

He has been playing with the Baby Penguins on a tryout contract, recording three goals and four assists in 17 games.

The power play and Neal

Despite not scoring a power-play goal in the past six games, Penguins right winger James Neal still has a team-high eight, which is as many as his next two teammates -- Kunitz and Malkin -- combined.

Neal had a breakout season in 2011-12, when he piled up 40 goals, including 18 with the man-advantage.

Even though this lockout-shortened season will include only 48 games and Neal has gone a half-dozen without getting a power-play goal, he is on pace to finish with 17.

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First Published March 6, 2013 5:00 AM


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