Penguins Notebook: Long stretch of starts no problem for Vokoun


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Tomas Vokoun made his seventh consecutive start Friday night, when the Penguins faced Ottawa in Game 5 of their second-round Eastern Conference playoff series at Consol Energy Center.

He appeared in more than two games in a row just once in the regular season -- a four-game stretch that included three starts and two shutouts -- but said the workload is a nonissue for him, even at age 36.

"I don't think I need to do anything special [to stay physically fresh]," he said. "Even when I didn't play as much during the [regular] season, you still train and work out and prepare in case you have to play.

"You just don't know. Injuries, or whatever else, could happen, and you could be playing for a while. You have to be ready. ... As a backup goalie, your job is to be ready when the team needs you."

Vokoun certainly was when called upon to replace Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 5 of the opening-round series against the New York Islanders.

He entered the game Friday night with a 5-1 record, 1.82 goals-against average and .942 save percentage.

Nonetheless, Vokoun recognizes that he could be replaced as the Penguins' go-to goalie at any time.

"There's nothing set in stone here," he said. "I play every game like it could be my last.

"It wouldn't any different if they told me that, 'No matter what's going to happen, you're going to play for the rest of the playoffs.' In this business, promises can only last as long as you're performing."

Morrow back in lineup

Penguins winger Brenden Morrow returned to the lineup after leaving practice early Tuesday and missing one game because of an unspecified problem.

After joining the Penguins for their game-day skate Friday -- but not participating on a particular forward line -- Morrow said the fact that the Penguins went into Game 5 with a chance to clinch the series didn't factor into whether he played.

"They're all tough to sit out at this time of the year," Morrow said.

"It doesn't matter if it's the first game of the series or a game to clinch it. They're all tough to sit and watch. It's a tough time of the year to be banged up."

He watched his teammates run up a 7-3 win in Game 4 in Ottawa and enjoyed seeing all the goals.

"It's a lot easier to watch a game like that than a nail-biter," Morrow said.

Talk about offense

The Penguins scored 41 goals in their 10 playoff games before last night. The 4.10 goals-per-game pace was the second-highest in the NHL playoffs in the past 20 years.

The highest-scoring playoff team over the past two decades was the 1992-93 Penguins, who scored 50 goals in 12 games (4.17).

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said his team's power-play statistics play a big part in the gaudy scoring average, but he said the team is not looking to play high-scoring games.

"We don't look to take chances to score goals," Bylsma said. "We don't look to try to manufacture those situations. It's more of a situation of how we play and how we want to play to get those opportunities.

"That's a big part of that number. It's not something we're striving to get. It's been the result of us being able to do certain things on the ice."

None of the top five highest-scoring teams in the playoffs in the past 20 years have won a Stanley Cup. The 1992-93 Penguins lost in the second round to the Islanders. The 1992-93 Los Angeles Kings (3.88 goals per game) lost in the final to Montreal. The 1992-93 Vancouver Canucks (3.83 goals per game) lost in the second round to the Kings. And the 2011-12 Philadelphia Flyers lost in the second round last season after beating the Penguins in the first round.

Penguins forward Craig Adams was asked if there anything to that.

"I haven't thought about it, but I would say those teams were obviously giving up too many goals if they're getting beat," he said.

"I'm not going to complain when we're scoring seven goals. It's a question of how many we're giving up."

Through 10 games, the Penguins were allowing 2.6 goals per game, which was second most among the eight teams still alive in the playoffs.

Only Ottawa (2.77) was giving up more goals per game.

New vehicle for NHL awards

The NHL will announce the winners of the Calder, Hart, Norris, Ted Lindsay and Vezina trophies on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. the day of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby is a finalist for the Hart (MVP) and Lindsay (most outstanding player), and Penguins defensemen Kris Letang is a finalist for the Norris (top defenseman).

The Masterton, Selke, Jack Adams, King Clancy and Lady Byng, Mark Messier Leadership and General Manager of the Year awards will be announced at 5 p.m. the previous night on the NHL Network.

Crosby is a finalist for the Masterton (perseverance, dedication and sportsmanship), and the Penguins' Ray Shero is a finalist for the general managers' award.

Dates for the final round have not been determined.

Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG. Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1230 and Twitter: @rayfitt1.

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First Published May 25, 2013 4:15 AM


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