Dan Bylsma: Keeping expectations under control always critical


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The scrutiny the Penguins have been under since the playoffs started last week is not something that has a place in the locker room, coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday.

"There are expectations for our team. There are expectations for the No. 1 seed, but it really is not something that we bring into the room," he said. "We think we're a good team. We know we've won a lot of hockey, but we also know how difficult the challenge is of the playoffs and winning four hockey games and moving on."

The Penguins and New York Islanders have each won one home game and one road game in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal going into Game 5 tonight at Consol Energy Center.

"It's 2-2 and now a best-of-three," Bylsma said. "We've earned the right to have that at home. We've earned success with how we've played this year and we've got to now bring that and be ready for that in Game 5."

Business as usual for Crosby

Penguins center Sidney Crosby said the Islanders aren't targeting him physically any more than he would expect from any opponent this time of year.

Crosby has been wearing a protective guard since returning for Game 2 from a broken jaw suffered March 30.

"As for me, I think they're playing me hard just as any team would in a playoff series," Crosby said after the Penguins canceled an optional practice. "I don't think it's any surprise to me. Maybe their hands are up a little bit more in that area. Typically, I think they'd try and get their hands up anyway and play tough. I would say they're well aware of what my situation is."

In Game 4 Tuesday, Crosby was left with a welt when he got hit by a puck in the throat -- inches from where a deflected puck caused his broken jaw. He sought some attention from the trainer but stayed in the game.

Some Strait talk

Brian Strait, a defensive defenseman, got his first NHL goal Tuesday in the Islanders' 6-4 win. If that had something to do with him being familiar with the Penguins, it's not something he's been able to pass along to his teammates.

"I don't have anything you can't see on the video," said Strait, a Penguins prospect before he was claimed off waivers by the Islanders just before the season. "I can tell the guys small tendencies of certain players. Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin are the best players in the world. They can do more than I can tell what they can do."

Besides, Strait said, New York's coaching staff has assembled accurate scouting reports.

"It's pretty cut and dried," Strait said. "We know exactly what they're coming with."

Left is all right with Iginla

With Penguins right winger James Neal back from an ankle injury, Jarome Iginla played on the left side of a line with Neal and Malkin in Game 4.

Iginla, a right winger with Calgary, is feeling a lot more at home on the left side than he was when he arrived in a trade in late March. He admitted he was anxious in those early days.

"Left feels good now," Iginla said. "When I first got here, whatever position you put me at [I] wasn't feeling comfortable. You know, had lots going through my mind and pretty anxious, I guess, when I first got here. Maybe that's why I looked so uncomfortable on the left.

"Now, to be honest, when we get out of the zone, breaking out as a winger with the style we play it's just as easy to be on the left or the right as far as how we take passes and move out of the zone. I haven't found an issue."

Islanders plan to keep shooting

The Islanders have gotten goals that bounced off the boards or skates or came on rebounds. That's not just a matter of trying to be opportunistic, according to winger Brad Boyes.

"I don't think we're looking at specific things other than shooting the puck," he said. "That's probably our biggest thing -- trying to get a lot of pucks on net. "

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For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com. First Published May 9, 2013 4:45 AM


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