Penguins Notebook: Sabourin had advantages going into first start at GM

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Although he got into nine games last season as the backup to Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, Dany Sabourin didn't make any starts at GM Place.

That first came Saturday night when Sabourin, filling in for injured Marc-Andre Fleury, beat Luongo in the Penguins' 2-1 shootout win.

"To win against my old teammates is a bonus," said Sabourin, who stopped 35 of 36 shots through regulation and overtime and four of five in the shootout.

Only veteran center Trevor Linden beat Sabourin in the shootout, in the third of five rounds. Sabourin stopped Ryan Kesler, Brendan Morrison, Taylor Pyatt and Markus Naslund.

"I was pretty familiar with what they were trying to do," said Sabourin, who faced the Canucks' shootout moves often last season in practice. "That was an advantage for me."

Sabourin, who was claimed off waivers by Vancouver in October 2006, re-signed with the Penguins in the summer.

Sykora close

Getting the Penguins' only goal in regulation against Vancouver was not quite enough to make winger Petr Sykora feel like he's over his scoring problems.

"I've been having a lot of chances, and nothing's going in right now," said Sykora, who put his shootout attempt off a post and had not scored in eight games before Saturday night.

"I think pretty soon the puck's going to go in for me and they're going to come in bunches."

Motivational situations

Penguins coach Michel Therrien often talks about players finding increased motivation from situations such as facing their former team.

To that end, he started former Oilers right winger Georges Laraque in the Penguins' game at Edmonton Wednesday night on the top line with Sidney Crosby. Therrien did the same Thursday at Calgary with former Flames left winger Gary Roberts. And Saturday at Vancouver with Jarkko Ruutu.

Slap shots

Penguins coach Michel Therrien on the three-game road sweep of Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver: "All those teams were waiting for us. We had to do it game after game. For a young group, they're learning really quickly." ... After going with seven defensemen for two games while Sergei Gonchar came back from a groin injury, Therrien went back to his normal six-man rotation against the Canucks. Somewhat surprisingly, he scratched Brooks Orpik. ... The Canucks went into the game ranked 29th of 30 teams in faceoff proficiency at 47.2 percent. They fell below that against the Penguins, winning 40 percent of the 57 faceoffs. ... After winning four games in a row against Western Conference teams, the Penguins don't play another interconference game until Feb. 9, when Los Angeles comes to Mellon Arena.



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