Re: Pens Tidbits
Pens's Christensen becoming shootout ace
By The Tribune-Review
Thursday, March 8, 2007
In 11 shootout attempts, Erik Christensen has scored seven goals, which ties him for the second-most in the NHL behind Minnesota's Mikko Koivu, who has scored eight in 15 tries. Most surprising is that even he doesn't know how he's doing it.
"I can't explain it," Christensen said. "I just try to have fun with it, have something planned before I go down and pick up the puck and try to enjoy it."
The Penguins have won seven consecutive shootouts, the second-longest current streak in the NHL behind Tampa Bay's eight. Christensen has scored on three of his past four attempts as the team's first shooter. It's certainly a far cry from the early part of the season, when the Penguins were 1-5 in their first six shootouts.
"I've been fortunate to be a part of it," Christensen said. "I think getting that first lead is a crucial thing. It's good for your psyche, and I think the best thing is that everyone has left us alone now that we're scoring."
• Only 13 skaters and two goaltenders took part in the team's optional practice Wednesday at Mellon Arena. That may not seem like a lot, but considering that the players didn't get back from Ottawa until the wee hours of the morning, it was fair turnout. Coach Michel Therrien allowed his assistants to run practice.
"It's just a young team and a group that's eager to learn," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "That's probably the biggest thing: Guys want to make sure they're sharp, and being younger, there's probably a little more energy to us."
• Among the players who didn't attend were forwards Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi and Georges Laraque, three veteran players whose combined age is 109.
"You have to take care of your body, especially with the second half being a little more intense and a little bit harder on your body," Crosby said. "Throw on the schedule that we have remaining, it's pretty demanding and you have to make sure you manage that well."
1 - Points for Crosby in his past five games.
2 - Points Crosby needs for his second consecutive 100-point season.
4 - Points for Crosby in six games against the New Jersey Devils this season.