Canucks forwards Daniel Sedin, left, and Henrik Sedin, have each scored 24 points this season.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
They look alike. They sound alike. Most of the time, they play alike.
Just try to tell Vancouver Canucks twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin apart without reading their jerseys if you're not around them much.
"I can't," Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said Wednesday before the Canucks played at Consol Energy Center.
Henrik, a center who won the NHL scoring title and the Hart Trophy as league MVP last season, wears No. 33 and a captain's "C." Daniel, a left winger whose 2009-10 season was shortened by injury, wears No. 22 and an alternate captain's "A."
When both 30-year-old Swedes are healthy and playing well, as they have been this season, even a scoresheet helps only to a degree in distinguishing them. Entering the game, they each had 23 points, although Henrik had two goals, Daniel 12.
Vancouver drafted them second (Daniel) and third (Henrik) overall in the 1999 draft. Their career numbers are similar -- 595 points in 745 games for Henrik, 570 points in 772 games for Daniel before Wednesday -- and, in 2009, they signed matching five-year, $30.5 million contracts.
Penguins winger Chris Kunitz played against the twins frequently when he was with Anaheim, and he has a hard time telling one from the other by look or by tendency.
"They almost work in the same kind of brainwaves," he said. "They know where each other are on the ice. I don't think one has the belief he's only going to pass and the other one's going to shoot, but they both can do a lot of things extremely well."
For defensemen, it nearly doesn't matter which twin it is.
"They're both similar players, very talented," the Penguins' Paul Martin said. "I'm sure the more time you're around them, you'll be able to tell. One of them is a little more of a goal-scorer than the other, but that's about it.
"Either way, you have to know where they are on the ice at all times."
Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson, who backed up Fleury in the game, was in Vancouver's training camp in 2005 before Washington picked him up on waivers. He learned to tell Daniel from Henrik.
"They're both really, genuinely nice guys," Johnson said. "You can tell [them apart] when you're around them."
But you can't predict how each will react on the ice, even if Daniel tends to shoot a lot more than Henrik.
"Incredible playmakers," Johnson said, "but then, you can't expect a pass all the time because they'll beat you with a shot."
New equipment for Fleury
Fleury used a set of new pads and a new glove for the game. They are white with blue swirls and accents, so they go with the powder-blue third jerseys the Penguins wore Wednesday night as well as the alternate uniforms they will wear for the first time at the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.
After wearing them at the morning skate, Fleury wasn't sure if he would use them or his standard all-whites in the game. He slept on it during his pregame nap and decided to use them.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby is a nominee for Sports Illustrated's 2010 Sportsman of the Year. ... In what has become an annual event, Max Talbot, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Deryk Engelland and Ben Lovejoy delivered pizzas to those in line for the team's student rush before the game. ... After a string of injuries, illness and occasional "maintenance days" for some players, the Penguins had a full contingent at their morning skate (minus center Jordan Staal, who has yet to play this season) for one of the few times this season. ... The Penguins scratched Lovejoy and forwards Mike Comrie and Eric Godard.