Walk through the Penguins locker room after a typical practice, like the one Friday at Southpointe, and you might catch a snippet of a conversation about one of the player's children.
Or a controversial play elsewhere in the league a night earlier.
Or a memorable game from someone's junior or college career.
Or a movie. Or a pet. Or the weather.
Or nearly anything other than the 14-game winning streak the Penguins will take into their game against the New York Islanders at 1:08 p.m. today at Consol Energy Center.
New York Islanders vs. Penguins, 1:08 p.m. today, Consol Energy Center.
- TV, radio:
Root Sports, WXDX-FM (105.9)
- Probable goaltenders:
Evgeni Nabokov for Islanders; Tomas Vokoun for Penguins.
Have gone 10-4 against Atlantic Division, including 3-1 record against Islanders. ... C Sidney Crosby has six-game points streak. ... Are 8-3 when being outshot.
Are 10-4-1 on road, including 1-1 at Consol Energy Center. ... LW Matt Moulson has 10 assists in his past 10 games. ... Are riding their first three-game winning streak of season.
- Hidden stat:
Islanders are 1-9-1 when C John Tavares fails to record a point.
Oh, they're well aware of the roll they're on -- "It's pretty cool," goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said -- but it isn't a topic of discussion among the players very often. If ever.
"We never really talk about it," center Brandon Sutter said. "We just kind of keep playing and try to keep doing what we're doing. There's really nothing to be said about it now."
Nothing except that, well, the Penguins have accomplished something only a handful of teams in NHL history have managed. The 1929-30 Boston Bruins (14 games), 2009-10 Washington Capitals (14), 1981-82 Islanders (15) and 1992-93 Penguins (17) are the only other clubs that have won that many games in a row.
If the Penguins extend their streak to 15, they will do it with a somewhat diluted lineup.
Defenseman Kris Letang is on injured-reserved, newly acquired winger Jarome Iginla's work-visa issue in Calgary has been resolved but he was not expected to arrive until today and defenseman Paul Martin seems unlikely to play because of an unspecified injury.
Coach Dan Bylsma said Martin's injury is "being evaluated further, and for the next couple of days."
The Penguins have overcome injuries to Letang and Evgeni Malkin in their streak, and the ability to deal with such adversity is just one of the factors that has made their 14-0 run possible.
They've found a way to consistently win close games -- eight of their victories in the streak have been by one goal -- and their penalty-killing has returned to what has been, in recent years, its usual rarefied level: Opposing power plays have scored on just three of 26 tries in the past 10 games.
Not coincidentally, the Penguins defensive statistics over that same period practically defy belief, especially for a franchise with little history of making such a commitment to playing well in its end.
The Penguins have allowed nine goals in the past 10 games, never giving up more than two in a game, and have recorded three shutouts over the past seven.
They enter the New York game having not allowed a goal for 148 minutes and 24 seconds after holding consecutive opponents without a goal for the first time since Feb. 8-10, 1993.
"Our goals-against is way, way down," Sutter said. "We're only giving teams a couple of chances a night, and it's making a huge difference for us. It's something to be pretty proud of, I think. It's pretty special."
Whether it's realistic to expect the Penguins to suppress opposing offenses the way they have since a 5-4 shootout victory three weeks ago in Toronto is debatable. That playing stingy defense is critical to survival in the playoffs, however, is undeniable.
Nothing makes that point better than Round 1 of the 2012 playoffs, when the Penguins averaged an extremely healthy 4.33 goals per game against Philadelphia, but lasted only six games because the Flyers averaged five.
"The way we're playing defensively, the way everybody is helping out and doing such a great job, that's big in the playoffs," Fleury said. "That's something we weren't as good at against Philly last year. Right now, we're good at it."
Over the past 10 games, the Penguins not only have stifled opposing offenses, but have been comfortable competing in games when goals come along only occasionally.
"There have been a lot of low-scoring games [in the streak]," defenseman Mark Eaton said. "Come playoff time, that's how the majority of the games are."
As well as they've played for much of the past 14 games, however, the Penguins don't seem to be getting complacent about their success, and recognize that they will have to continue to elevate their game as the stretch drive unfolds.
"There's always room to improve," Eaton said. "By no means are we satisfied. We know we have another level and we need to get there."
Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG. First Published March 30, 2013 4:00 AM