Penguins Notebook: Focus remains on own game, not other series
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OTTAWA -- This is Tyler Kennedy's first trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs, so a lot of what's going on is new to him.
Even so, Kennedy realizes seven other series have been going on around North America the past week.
He just hasn't had the time or inclination to pay much attention to any except the one the Penguins hoped to close out against Ottawa when they met in Game 4 at Scotiabank Place last night.
"I'm just caught up in this," Kennedy said. "We're all pretty focused on our own thing."
A lot of his teammates have varying levels of interest in the other series, though. Some because they have ties to a team that's involved, others simply because they're fans of the sport.
Pascal Dupuis, for example, has tried to keep up with the Minnesota-Colorado series, because of the time he spent with the Wild, while Jarkko Ruutu, who has roots in the Western Conference, acknowledged monitoring the Dallas-Anaheim and San Jose-Calgary series.
"I like watching those games," Ruutu said.
- Who would be next for the Penguins? Because the NHL re-seeds, it won't be determined for certain until the end of the first round. The possibilities:
- Washington, if the Capitals defeat Philadelphia and Montreal eliminates Boston.
- The New York Rangers-New Jersey series winner, if the Flyers beat Washington and the Canadiens defeat the Bruins.
- Boston, if the Bruins upset Montreal.
If any of the Penguins have a rooting interest in how another series turns out, they're not letting on. In fact, they all seem to want the same thing in every other series: That they all last seven games, be extremely physical and involve as many multiple overtimes as possible.
"Get beat up and get tired," Dupuis said. "So that if we get through, the team we're going to be playing is tired."
Left winger Gary Roberts, who has a sore groin, was scratched for the second game in a row, and coach Michel Therrien said the Penguins want to make sure he is fully recovered before he returns to the lineup.
"He's still day-to-day," Therrien said. "It's not such a huge injury, but I want to make sure he's 100 percent when he comes back. We don't want him to have any setbacks."
The Penguins used the same lineup they did for Game 3, which means Roberts was joined in the press box by forwards Jeff Taffe and Kris Beech, defensemen Darryl Sydor and Mark Eaton (knee) and goalie Dany Sabourin.
Eighteen players participated in the Penguins' optional game-day skate yesterday morning, and Therrien said he was satisfied that they had the mind-set needed to have a realistic chance to end the Senators' season last night.
"You don't win games at the morning skate, but you could lose games at the morning skate, if the focus is not there," he said. "I can tell you right now, we didn't lose the game at the morning skate."
Although it has been six years since Mario Lemieux appeared in a playoff game, he remains the NHL's all-time goals-per-game leader for postseason play.
Lemieux averaged .710 goals per game, putting him ahead of Mike Bossy (.659), Maurice Richard (.617), Cam Neely (.613), Wayne Gretzky (.587), Jari Kurri (.530), Bobby Hull (.521), Dino Ciccarelli (.518), Brett Hull (.516) and Joe Sakic (.506).
Sakic, a Colorado center who scored the overtime winner in the Avalanche's Game 1 victory against Minnesota and has two goals in the series, is the only active player on that list.
After averaging 27.7 shots on goal in the regular season, the Penguins put 127 on the Ottawa net in the first three games.
The increase isn't entirely coincidental.
"In the playoffs, you want to get more pucks to the net because a lot of times, you'll see a lot of rebounds," center Sidney Crosby said. "They're not the prettiest goals, usually. A lot of dirty goals, so to speak."
First Published April 17, 2008 12:00 am