PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby believes that Sunday’s Game 2 loss basically came down to some struggles on the power play and a lack of finish around the net against a suddenly resurgent Jaroslav Halak.
The Pittsburgh captain, who did not score a point for only the second time in postseason games this spring, believes his team was focused on the task at hand despite suffering a 3-1 loss to the Canadiens at Mellon Arena that sends this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series back to Montreal tied at 1-all.
Crosby had just one shot and was a minus-2 in almost 25 minutes of action Sunday afternoon. He also won 10 of the 17 draws he took in the game.
Afterward, he talked about the game, focusing on the struggles his team faced in getting the power play rolling after a 4-for-4 night in Friday’s 6-3 win. In Game 2, the power play went 0-for-3, while Montreal scored its winning goal on a power-play tally by Michael Cammalleri.
He also discussed the play of Halak, who stopped 38 of 39 shots and looked much more like the goalie that frustrated Washington in the first round and not the one that was pulled after stopping just 13 of the first 18 shots he faced in Game 1 of this series.
Finally, he talked about what his team must do to regain control as it heads to Montreal for Tuesday’s Game 3 at the Bell Centre.
Q: Did you see Montreal doing anything differently defensively in this game as compared to Game 1?
Crosby: Not really. We got more shots, like we wanted to. As a whole, we got the puck to the net and got some good chances, more than we did last game. The only difference was power play-wise we didn’t execute as well. Even strength, I thought we did a good job of generating things.
Q: Was there a reason for a lack of execution on the power play?
Crosby: No. I think they were a little more aggressive in the neutral zone, broke up some plays and took away some rhythm. We still had some chances around the net, pucks go through the crease. It is just a matter of inches; that’s what it comes down to. It’s just a matter of getting shots away and figuring out ways to get rebounds and things like that. It’s a very small margin for error, and we weren’t able to get it done today.
Q: Did you guys maybe go to sleep there a little bit in the second half of the first period?
Crosby: I think we passed up shots. I don’t think we fell asleep. I think we got to the offensive zone, but maybe got a little too fancy. But we got right back to things. That’s going to happen -- sometimes you are going to pass up shots you don’t want to pass up.
Q: How many times have you seen you guys put extended pressure on a team and then they come down and get a goal? That happened to you in the first.
Crosby: That’s playoff hockey. That’s why you have to execute. That is what the game comes down to, ultimately. We paid the price for not doing that today. It wasn’t a lack of effort, a lack of not preparing or anything like that. Our focus was there. We just got to make sure we are hungry around that net and find a way to put it in.
Q: You saw Halak against Washington and he played really well. Would you say it was a repeat scenario for him tonight?
Crosby: He played really well. We had some second opportunities that we didn’t get our sticks on, or we got our sticks on and missed the net. He played solid, there’s no doubt. He made the saves he had to make and they cleared the puck around him pretty well; but we still had opportunities around the net there.
Q: How do you take away the momentum they created with this win?
Crosby: We have to out-play them. That’s what it comes down to right now. You can talk about momentum and things like that, but you have to play the game and earn it on the ice. It’s something we will have to earn when we go there. It’s going to be tough, but that is the challenge we face. We faced this exact same situation last series and we responded well, and that is what we will look to do here.