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Penguins notebook: Crosby undaunted by expectations

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 6:42 p.m.

• The Penguins have won 13 games in a row, and general manager Ray Shero recently augmented their lineup with two significant trades. On the surface, the sky appears to be the limit for the Penguins. In reality, there will be enormous pressure on the team that is considered by many to be the Stanley Cup favorite from the Eastern Conference. With the additions of left wing Brenden Morrow and defenseman Douglas Murray — along with the fact that the Penguins have pulled away from the Eastern Conference on the power of their 13-game winning streak — the Penguins are expected to make a deep playoff run. But they have lost three consecutive series, all to lower seeded teams. Captain Sidney Crosby doesn't believe the additional pressure will be a problem. “I really don't,” he said. “Yeah, we brought new players in and we have high expectations. But honestly, we always have high expectations here. It's like that every year.” Crosby senses the Penguins' locker room, which is filled with players who have enjoyed deep postseason runs, is capable of handling the favorite status that could stick with them in every series this spring. “I like our focus,” Crosby said. “I like our willingness to compete, our intensity. ”

• The Penguins are five wins away from breaking the NHL record of 17 straight wins. Their schedule appears to favor a possibility of such a record being broken. They play the Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres in their next three games, all at home. The Penguins are 12-3 lifetime against those franchises at Consol Energy Center. Following those two games are back-to-back contests against the New York Rangers, whom the Penguins are 3-0 against this season.

• Wednesday's practice was optional, and about half the team took the day off.

—Josh Yohe

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