'"They're going to play physical," Penguins left winger Kevin Stevens said. "It's the only way they can play us, I think."'
'But he had a firm opinion on the attention his animated exchange with Coach Ivan Hlinka outside the Penguins' locker room at HSBC Arena before their 3-1 victory against the Sabres Saturday has received: He insists the incident has been blown way out of proportion.'
'"It's that time of year when adversity slaps you in the face, and you've got to come up big," Coach Lindy Ruff said after Buffalo's practice yesterday at HSBC Arena. "Throughout the year, we've had situations where key defensemen were out and we still managed to get some victories."'
'"He's better now at both ends of the rink," Stevens insisted.'
'The numbers weigh heavily against a Buffalo comeback. The Sabres have lost all 15 series in their history when losing the first two games, and they are 1-8-3 in their past 12 visits to Pittsburgh.'
'"I don't know if I'm going to play," Jagr said. "When I'm going to feel like I can help the team, be healthy enough to play, I will play."'
'But inquiring minds were curious after Saturday's 3-1 victory: Does the fact that the Penguins lost four straight games after winning two at Philadelphia make them susceptible to a similar meltdown this year?'
'"I think it's actually throwing guys off. You're so used to the wide-open style that Pittsburgh used to play, the offense-first (philosophy). You see them sitting back and having three guys back all the time, sometimes four, it's freaky."'
'George Ferguson never has seen a televised replay of the goal that, 22 years later, remains one of the most memorable in Penguins history. And it came against the Buffalo Sabres in a Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.'
'The ratings had improved from abysmal to poor and that was something.'
'To suggest that Hedberg and the Penguins have held the Capitals and Sabres to a combined total of three even-strength goals in eight games because neither of those teams has anybody who can score goals, is a slap in Hedberg's moose mask, and an affront to the other men defending the Penguins logo.'
'Jagr's immaturity in the past was bad enough, but his requests to be traded, his pouting, and his poor attitude are making him a good candidate to be shown the door.'
'The longer the Penguins last in the playoffs, the longer goaltender Johan Hedberg will be away from his wife and two young daughters in Sweden.'
'Part of the reason Hedberg has confounded opposition shooters is he is not your typical NHL goaltender. At 5-foot-11, he is not real big and depends more on reflexes and outstanding positioning.'
'If his teammates can't find a way to wake up and score in Game 3 Monday night against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, the Sabres themselves will be nothing but a memory.'