To this point, the Penguins have feasted heavily on struggling teams to get to 6-1. Their opponents are a combined 13-34-9, with six of the seven having losing records.
Today, they face a team not far behind them in the NHL standings. Vancouver (5-3) visits Consol Energy Center for an afternoon game.
"You get excited for those games," Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "We've done what we needed to do against teams that have struggled so far. We've taken care of business and we've played pretty well.
"But you get a little geared up for a team that's playing well."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has a particular direction he leans toward when preparing for the Canucks, and it's not just the team's top players or goaltender Roberto Luongo.
It's coach John Tortorella, formerly the coach of the New York Rangers.
"We're playing a Vancouver team that is good in a lot of areas, good with their top skill, a good team," Bylsma said.
"We're also playing a John Tortorella team. We get out our scout from the last couple of years on the New York Rangers to see how they're going to play and what they're going to do."
Tortorella, whose team practiced at Southpointe after the Penguins' workout, was asked about Bylsma's tactic of studying Tortorella's tendencies.
"I don't even know," Tortorella said, smiling. "I don't know what he means."
Conner is called up
Deryk Engelland, a defenseman by trade, played right wing on the Penguins' fourth line in a 4-1 win Thursday at Philadelphia and practiced there Friday. Bylsma indicated that Engelland could play there again today, calling it "a definite possibility."
But, after practice, the Penguins recalled winger Chris Conner from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
Conner, 29, leads Wilkes-Barre in goals (three) and points (four) through three games.
It's unclear whether Conner will play today and, if he does, whose place he would take.
A rare, unusual look
Vancouver's Sedin twins, center Henrik and left winger Daniel, pretty much always have played together. Each has won an Art Ross trophy as NHL scoring champion. The identical brothers even have matching five-year, $30.5 million contracts that expire next summer.
Tortorella did the nearly unthinkable, however, when he put them on separate lines two games ago.
Part way through a 3-0 win Thursday at Buffalo, he reunited them, putting them on a line with Ryan Kesler, a former Selke Trophy winner as the league's top two-way forward.
Those three have combined for six goals, 21 points through seven games, and Tortorella said he will play those three together today.
Niskanen's starts fast
Niskanen led the NHL with a plus-minus rating of plus-10 going into Friday. He has been playing with staunch defensive defenseman Rob Scuderi as a fill-in for the injured Kris Letang.
Niskanen also leads the team's defensemen with six points (one goal, five assists).
"The plus-minus can be a deceiving [statistic], but plus-10 jumps off the page as having played some great hockey through the first seven games," Bylsma said.
"Matt's been great. His numbers are pretty gaudy right now."
Dupuis not immune to fun
By winning a recent shootout contest at Penguins practice, winger Pascal Dupuis earned "immunity" for a future shootout drill. Usually, players use their immunity card for the end-of-the-month "Moustache Boy" shootout drill, when the loser has to grow a moustache for the following month.
"But next month is going to be 'Movember,' so there's no need for me to use immunity for 'Moustache Boy' if I'm still going to grow a moustache," Dupuis said of the cancer-awareness movement.
So he chose the shootout contest Friday for his immunity and was banished to the Southpointe penalty box. With the help of teammate Tanner Glass, Dupuis figured out the public-address system.
First, he accidentally blared a few seconds of Green Day. Then, he offered some unsolicited commentary.
He introduced "Evgeni Maaalkiin," mimicking the popular call by Consol Energy Center's Ryan Mill. He joked that a shooter was "Offside!" He made a sound effect, "Uhhnnn," when teammates' shots were stopped.
First Published October 18, 2013 8:16 PM