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With Game 7 of the Blues-Blackhawks series as well as Game 6 of the Ducks-Predators series each being played tonight, the NHL won't release any portion of the schedule for the second round until every first-round series is completed.
As a result, the Penguins don't know for certain when their next game will be.
After wrapping up their first-round series against the Rangers Saturday, the Penguins face the possibility of going four, five or six days between games, a virtual aeon in the playoffs.
Presumably, a few extra days between games can help heal any bumps and bruises. At the same time, some teams fear losing their rhythm. In 2013, the Penguins waited seven days after beating the Ottawa Senators in an Eastern Conference semifinal series to play the Eastern Conference final where they were swept by the Bruins.
Earlier today, veteran members of the Penguins and their coach were asked if extended down time is a benefit or a detriment.
Center Sidney Crosby (above) - “I think it's just how well you deal with it. That's the biggest thing. If you use the rest to your advantage and you're sharp in preparing, that can be a big help. But mentally, you need to make sure that when everything does start, that you're ready to go and you don't take a few games to get into it. We've been in that position in the past. Sometimes it's helped us. Sometimes it hasn't. I think it's up to us to make sure we use it to our advantage.”
Center Eric Fehr - “It probably depends on how you spend them. For us, we're going to get some time to rest up and get some workouts in, some skates. I think it will be a benefit to us the way we're preparing.”
Left winger Chris Kunitz - “It would be nice to know when you play. But everybody's got bumps and bruises. You've got to be able to prepare for the next team. Not knowing if we're going to get a couple days of practice... it's something that would be nice to know. Coaches and trainers are preparing us. Getting the rest in today. Getting the optional. Doing some stuff in the gym and stretch. Hopefully, we'll find out later today when we'll start.”
Defenseman Kris Letang - “It depends if you're banged up. It's going to be beneficial to get healthy. But obviously, it's fun to get some games in, some action in fast. You keep that rhythm. At the end of the day, it's the most important time of the year so there's no excuses on that side.”
Defenseman Ben Lovejoy - “I think it depends on how you come out and play that first game. I think anytime you can get rest in the playoffs, it is an advantage. You kill yourself doing everything you can to win playoff series and you as a team always have bumps and bruises. This time off will be great for that.”
Head coach Mike Sullivan - “I think it depends on the circumstances your team is in at that particular time. The one upside is it gives you a chance to re-energize. It gives some of the injured guys more time to heal. That's the obvious benefit of it. We don't know exactly when we're going to play yet but we have a ballpark idea and we're trying to put together a gameplan that we think is going to put our team in the best position for Game 1.”
(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury participated in an optional practice at the team's workout facility in Cranberry today. Afterwards, he held court with media and admitted he is still experiencing symptoms from the concussion which has sidelined him for 10 games.
Any update on his status:
“Pffffff ... that's a good answer right? ... Just getting back out there. Trying to get a sweat and to stop some pucks. See how it goes throughout the day.”
Are you still experiencing symptoms:
On trying to stay positive:
“Oh, it's one of the toughest things I've been through. Some good days and you think you're back. And some bad days you think it's never going to get fixed. A lot of ups and downs. Being the playoffs, it's such a fun time of year to play hockey. Every game is so intense, meaningful. It's tough to just be watching but you just got to deal with it, fix it up and cheer on the guys."
On if he's trying to be around the team as much as possible:
"Yeah, I try to. I try to encourage them. It's such a fun game to watch. It gets very intense. I feel like they're more stressful not playing. The guys have been playing like we should and have been very good out there."
On goaltender Matt Murray:
“He's a young guy. He's a guy that's doing so well right now, throughout the season. Last season as well. Right now, he's just staying calm. He sees the puck very well right now. He's been great for us."
What advice can he offer Murray about the Capitals:
"I can tell him [Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin] likes to shoot. I'm sure he knows that one. Yeah, we'll have a little sit down, talk about it. I think he can't worry about too much about them. Just worry about how he's playing. Staying in his bubble. It's been going great. Don't worry too much about it and just play."
(Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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-The Penguins will face the Capitals in the second round.
-“It’s different. Anytime you’re playing against your old friends, it’s a little bit different.” - Penguins center Eric Fehr on facing his former team, the Capitals.
-A look at the basic statistics between Penguins and Capitals players this season in head-to-head games.
-The Penguins will put tickets for Games 3 and 4 on sale today.
-“They’re easy guys to play with. They’re smart with the puck and they’re smart defensively. When you get the puck in the offensive zone, they make plays. It’s fun to play with them and obviously we have chemistry right now.” - Left winger Conor Sheary on playing with captain/center Sidney Crosby and right winger Patric Hornqvist.
-After the Jump: John Tavares leads the Islanders to the second round.
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The long-time rivals have not faced off in the postseason since 2009 when the Penguins beat the Capitals in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, 4-3.
In 2015-16, the Penguins won the regular season series, 3-2-0 including on overtime victory. Here's a look at the basic statistics of every player on each active roster in games against the other team this season:
|Matt Cullen, C||5||3-1-4||0|
|Sidney Crosby, C||5||1-3-4||0|
|Evgeni Malkin, C||3||2-1-3||4|
|Trevor Daley, D||4||1-2-3||2|
|Olli Maatta, D||4||0-3-3||2|
|Bryan Rust, RW||2||1-1-2||2|
|Nick Bonino, C||5||1-1-2||5|
|Patric Hornqvist, RW||5||1-1-2||4|
|Phil Kessel, RW||5||1-1-2||2|
|Kris Letang, D||4||0-2-2||8|
|Beau Bennett, RW||2||1-0-1||0|
|Conor Sheary, LW||2||1-0-1||0|
|Justin Schultz, D||3||1-0-1||0|
|Chris Kunitz, LW||5||1-0-1||2|
|Carl Hagelin, LW||2||0-1-1||2|
|Oskar Sundqvist, C||2||0-1-1||0|
|Ben Lovejoy, D||3||0-1-1||0|
|Ian Cole, D||5||0-1-1||14|
|Brian Dumoulin, D||5||0-1-1||2|
|Derrick Pouliot, D||1||0-0-0||0|
|Pascal Dupuis, RW||1||0-0-0||0|
|Kevin Porter, C||2||0-0-0||0|
|Eric Fehr, C||3||0-0-0||0|
|Andre Burakowsky, LW||5||2-2-4||0|
|Nicklas Backstrom, C||5||1-3-4||0|
|T.J. Oshie, RW||5||3-1-4||6|
|John Carlson, D||3||1-3-4||0|
|Evgeny Kuznetsov, C||5||2-1-3||0|
|Justin Williams, RW||5||0-3-3||4|
|Marcus Johansson, LW||5||2-0-2||0|
|Jason Chimera, LW||5||1-1-2||2|
|Karl Alzner, D||5||0-2-2||6|
|Jay Beagle, C||5||0-2-2||0|
|Matt Niskanen, D||5||0-2-2||2|
|Tom Wilson, RW||5||1-0-1||7|
|Mike Richards, C||3||0-1-1||0|
|Nate Schmidt, D||4||0-1-1||0|
|Dmitry Orlov, D||5||0-1-1||4|
|Taylor Chorney, D||2||0-0-0||5|
|Stanislav Galiev, RW||2||0-0-0||0|
|Brooks Orpik, D||4||0-0-0||2|
|Mike Weber, D||4||0-0-0||21|
|Alex Ovechkin, LW||5||0-0-0||2|
|Daniel Winnik, C||5||0-0-0||16|
|Michael Latta, C||-||-||-|
(Photo: Alex Brandon/Associated Press)