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Pens Points: Crosby Knows What's Coming

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Your daily source of Pittsburgh Penguins and NHL news and stories.

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Good morning one and all,

The Pens have recalled forward Scott Wilson from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. As you recall he was injured early on in his first NHL game back in early December. Hopefully he has a much better go of it the second time around. [Penguins]

Sidney Crosby is very familiar with the New York Rangers, especially with the shaft of Marc Staal's stick. He knows what to expect in the upcoming series. [Penguins]

The status of Christian Ehrhoff (who did take part in an optional skate yesterday) and Derrick Pouliot is uncertain for the first round. Harrington and Dumoulin have rejoined the team and may get a chance. [PPG]

*With Kris Letang absent and the team in nose-dive, Crosby, Malkin and Fleury leaned on each other, stuck together and kept going at it. Rather than rah-rah speeches, that's what their teammates needed to see, that the guys whose contracts are secured and whose positions with the team were safe were the ones working and pushing the hardest. [Trib]

Ben Lovejoy recently said that the major difference he noticed about Fleury this season is the ability to take things as they come and let go of what happened before to focus on what is coming. That mindset will be important to keep in the playoffs. [Penguins]

*Mike Colligan on how Mike Johnston simplified the Pens breakout and how that will bode for the team in the Rangers series. [The Hockey Writers]

*More Xs and Os as Colligan expands his earlier analysis with a new twist on the James Neal FaceoffTM play. [The Hockey Writers]

There will be no playoff viewing parties in the first round of the playoffs in the usual spot due to the construction in the area, the Penguins announced. [PPG]

Mayor Bill Peduto has steped in, however, and offered to help secure an alternative viewing area. Stay tuned on this one. [CBS Local]

Todd Richards was Dan Bylsma's assistant on Team USA at the Sochi Olympics, and the roles will be reversed for the upcoming IIHF World Championships. [Columbus Dispatch]

*Quite a few playoff teams are in a quandary when it comes to their starting goaltenders, as you will see below. These decisions are crucial and, as Helene Elliott writes, can make or break a team's series. [LA Times]

Mike Babcock was critical of Jimmy Howard's recent performances, especially after a recent Tampa game, and that fueled many a speculation that Howard's leash will be very short come playoff time. Well, forget the leash; Petr Mrazek has been announced as the playoff starter. [Detroit Free Press]

Another established netminder who didn't look the same coming back from an injury is Ryan Miller. He looks to be on the bench to start the playoffs as Vancouver Canucks will instead go with Eddie Lack, who performed well down the stretch. [The Score]

Ken Hitchcock so far hasn't revealed whether his starting goalie will be Brian Elliott or Jake Allen. There is a Marty Brodeur joke somewhere in there. [NHL.com]

The goalie decision in Anaheim sorted itself out as John Gibson missed practice with an upper-body injury, which means Frederik Andersen will  get the call. [Fox Sports]

Is any goalie going into the playoffs hotter than Ondrej Pavelec? The much maligned and criticized netminder sets out to prove that his regular season wasn't a fluke. [Yahoo Sports Canada]

So much about 14 weeks. Barely 7 weeks after undergoing surgery for a clavicle fracture, Patrick Kane is cleared to return to play, on time for game 1. Yay!! Said no one in Nashville. [Chicago Tribune]

The most interesting man in the NHL is also one of its best coaches. Jon Cooper has his Tampa Bay Lightning flying under the radar. My pick for the Stanley Cup and you heard it here first. (Video feature) [TSN]

The Edmonton Oilers have extended Nail Yakupov for two years in the hope that the talented young winger will continue to grow into his role in the organization. [ESPN]

Sad news for the end as the Ottawa Senators mourn the death of assistant coach Mark Reeds, who passed away at 55 years of age after a cancer battle. A good man gone far too soon. Our condolences to all who knew him. [Senators.com]

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