While tonight’s return to Pittsburgh may be bittersweet for Rob Scuderi, it probably won’t be anything close to similar for teammate Alexei Ponikarovsky. After spending seven-plus seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was acquired by the Penguins in a deadline deal last March.
It was a move that didn’t pay off for either the team or player, as he scored just two goals in his 16 regular season games there and added a single goal in 11 more playoff games – numbers that probably cost him dearly on the free agent market last summer.
Still, he tried to downplay the situation before the Kings headed out east…
MM: For you personally, is there special meaning in the Pittsburgh game or are you perhaps looking forward to a different game on the trip?
AP: Nah, I wouldn’t say so. I played in Pittsburgh for a couple of months last year at the end of the season. It would be nice to beat them for sure, especially in their own building – the new one. Other than that, it’s the same as other road trips.
AP: No. We know what we have to do. We know where we are in the standings right now. So, I don’t think we can back off and just see what’s going to happen. We have to go after them right away and play good hockey. Even without Malkin and Crosby, those guys play their system well and they know what to do. So, they can still score and hurt you. They have good goaltending. So, we have to play our best game.
And for perhaps the line of the day, check out this closer…
“I think all the teams we’re going to play on this trip are pretty good teams. So, it’s going to be a tough one. We just have to bring a good game as a group and win them all.”
Well that would be nice.