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Crosby: Penguins still believe they can win series

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com
CANONSBURG, Pa. -- Sidney Crosby had a brief but succinct message for anyone wondering about the state of mind of his team right now.

We believe.

"We haven't changed our beliefs," said Crosby following Tuesday's optional practice at the Iceoplex at Southpointe. "The trust and belief is there that if we play the right way we're going to get good results."

Crosby said despite his Pittsburgh Penguins dropping the first two games of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Washington Capitals, they are far from out of it.

"I think for us, we don't want to change a whole lot," said Crosby. "We made a few mistakes, but for the most part we're pretty happy with our game."

Their game has included scoring the game's first goal each time, followed by a lack of being able to build off that early foundation.

"It's not like we get that first one and let up," said Crosby. "We kept coming. We have to realize that if we do that we're still going to get those opportunities and hopefully get the next one to get that two-goal lead. We want to start well, but we want to maintain that same momentum and we've done that, it's just a matter of getting that next goal."

The feeling in the Penguins' locker room is a far cry from the last time the Pens were down 2-0 in a series. In last year's Stanley Cup Final, the Pens didn't score a goal while losing the first two games to the Red Wings in Detroit.

"Those two games, we didn't play well, so it was probably a bit more frustrating," Crosby said of last year. "These two games, we probably played well enough to win but didn't. We've got to have the mentality that if we do the same things here at home we're going to have good results. The main thing is not to get frustrated. If anything, that would be the lesson. We knew we didn't play well in the first two games last year, but we wanted to bounce back. For us, it's a matter of staying on track right now and staying with the game plan."

The game plan last year led them to a win in Game 3. If history hopes to repeat itself, however, Crosby can't do it alone. He's scored four of the Pens' five goals in the series, including all three in Game 2. Contributions need to come from other places, something that's been severely lacking -- and not just in this series. Crosby's linemates, Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. have a combined two goals -- both by Guerin in Game 2 of the first round. Ruslan Fedotenko has one goal, Evgeni Malkin hasn't scored in five games, and Petr Sykora and Jordan Staal are looking for their first goals.

Pittsburgh Penguins Playoff Gear"You need everyone," said Crosby. "It hasn't been for lack of effort or anything. There have been lots of good chances and guys creating momentum. Lines have created opportunities and that's what you ask for, but it's a matter of executing. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't, but we have to focus on that."

Crosby's play in the first two games should have given his teammates a blueprint on how to execute against Capitals rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov. Of Crosby's four goals in the series, three have been from within inches of the blue paint.

"It's kind of a combination of two things," said Crosby. "You need to go there (the net) in the playoffs, that's where you're going to see a lot of goals scored. And you need to shoot the puck. You see guys get shots through, there's going to be pucks lying around there, doesn't matter if it's a young goalie or an old goalie -- pucks are going to be there. We've done a pretty good job of that. He's scrambled a few times and made some big saves (but) goalies are going to give those opportunities up, there's nothing they can do about it. Put pucks on them, put pressure and traffic, and there's going to be pucks there. It's a matter of putting them in."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.


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