PITTSBURGH – Sidney Crosby’s personal struggles continued Saturday night, when he was held without a goal for the sixth-straight game.
But that mattered little considering the fact this team gutted out a 2-1 victory against Montreal at Mellon Arena in Game 5, putting the Penguins just one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Game 6, and the first of two Pittsburgh opportunities to finally put down the Cinderella Canadiens, comes Monday night in Montreal. Game 7, if necessary, will be played here on Wednesday.
Crosby certainly hopes to be better than he was in Game 5.
He managed just one shot on goal in this game, and that came in the third period -- although he did have five shots blocked and missed wide with another. Crosby also struggled in the faceoff circle for the first time, winning just 7 of his 18 draws.
He talked with the media after the game.
Q: Can you talk about the way you guys started tonight?
Crosby: We came out hard. That’s the way we wanted to. We wanted to make sure we got to our game right away and we created momentum because of that. I think that is the start we wanted. That’ll be the focus the next game as well.
Q: Was it a bitter taste from Game 4 that got you to your game early?
Crosby: You just have to regroup. I mean, we did some good things, they did some good things. That’s the playoffs; it’s tight hockey and you have to capitalize on your opportunities. You have to give yourself a chance by playing well. That’s the only way you are going to give yourself a chance.
Q: Both goals tonight -- Billy in front on the first goal and Mike has two guys tied up on the second goal -- were about traffic and you saw the results. Is that the game plan going forward?
Crosby: I think it has been the whole series. They do a good job of blocking guys out. It’s something where you have to find a way; something where you are battling to get there. You can talk about getting there, everybody wants to do it. But it’s not easy. A great job by those guys battling to get position there.
Q: Can you talk about the way Geno and Fleury played?
Crosby: They played great. Flower made some big saves throughout the whole game. Early on, they had a couple of great chances. As the game went on, he made some big saves too. You need that this time of year. You don’t want to put him in that position, but they create things sometimes and he was there to make those big saves.
Q: Is it a sign of character that Kris Letang was mad about the last goal (in Game 4) and Fleury was mad because of the first goal to Pyatt (in Game 4) and tonight they bounce back with pretty huge performances?
Crosby: Everybody, I think, realizes the situation here. Hopefully, those guys don’t put too much pressure on themselves. Things happen. We are all in it together and we all have to bounce back as a team. Individually, they are competitive guys. They have a lot of character and they showed that tonight.
Q: Two goals from your defense tonight; is that what you need with the way they pack things in?
Crosby: It helps. It’s not always going to find a way into the net, but I think we are going to generate second and third opportunities with that. They found a way to get their shot through and guys found ways to get position in front. Certainly, that’s something that can help us if we keep doing that.