*Dan Bylsma said this morning that there is added significance to tonight’s game due to both teams riding winning streaks. Pittsburgh is on a 7 game winning streak and Atlanta is riding a 6 game winning streak.
Bylsma called Atlanta a very dangerous team in all three phases.
*There’s a media lovefest today with Atlanta’s Dustin Byfuglien who has emerged as one of the most dynamic players in the game. He’s been the hot topic in the locker room today and during Bylsma’s press conference. Byfuglien leads all defenseman with 27 points and 10 goals and his booming shot from the point has been on display all season
Bylsma said today is he fairly familiar with Byfuglien. Bylsma coached against Byfuglien when Dustin played in Norfolk where he was a defenseman. Bylsma called Byfuglien a force physically, tough to knock off the puck and said what makes Byfuglien such a force is that he’s unpredictable.
* The ice at Consol Energy Center is starting to slowly improve. With such a quick turnaround from the basketball game today, Bylsma said that the ice was “fairly good” this morning and the ice has been better of late.
Bylsma attended the Pittsburgh – Duquesne game last night and said that there is a little fraternity among coaches in Pittsburgh.
*Bylsma has talked extensively this year about the indentity of his hockey club. Through the first 15-to-18 games, the Penguins lacked an identity but Bylsma claimed that his team’s identity is starting to be there.
He said the Penguins can play a fast game and pin teams in the offensive zone but their identity is starting to be built with their defensive play which is different from Penguins teams the past couple years.
The Penguins mindset to change their identity all the way from management to the coaching staff has been interesting to watch as the Penguins were about uptempo play last year and believed in that model. While they still play an uptempo game, give them credit for their changing their focus as an organization.