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Crosby says Penguins don't regret Game 3 fireworks

by Alan Robinson

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby isn't going down without a fight.

Even with the Pittsburgh Penguins down 3-0 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Philadelphia Flyers, Crosby isn't apologizing or offering excuses for their performance during an 8-4 loss in Game 3 on Sunday that was filled with skirmishes, penalties and poor defensive play by the Penguins.

And while even coach Dan Bylsma said, "There's a little bit of shock, disbelief, disappointment" that the Penguins could face elimination in Game 4 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN), a feisty Crosby isn't about to concede that the series is over.

Among Crosby's comments during a post-practice session with reporters Tuesday at Consol Energy Center:


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* The Penguins don't regret the way they conducted themselves Sunday despite having Kris Letang, Craig Adams and Arron Asham ejected from a penalty-filled game in which they admittedly lost their composure at times.

"I think we're trying to do whatever we can to win hockey games," Crosby said.

* Their fans shouldn't be saying the Penguins embarrassed themselves while giving up eight goals for the second successive game and engaging in numerous fights, including one between Crosby and Flyers star Claude Giroux.

"They should have nothing to be embarrassed about," he said. "They should be pretty proud of the guys they have here. It's a terrible situation to be in, being down 3-0. But that's when you need your fans the most."

Later in the day, after the team arrived in Philadelphia, Crosby said, "Honestly, that [fighting] isn't our intent. If you look at the playoffs a whole, it's been a pretty wacky first round, a lot of emotions showing through. It's been intense and it's been kind of the result of everything that's gone on. But we really haven't tried to do that. It just got a little sticky for a few minutes [in Game 3]."

* There's no "shock" factor to the Flyers outscoring them 20-12 in a much-anticipated series the Penguins were favored to win.

"I don’t think anybody came here today shocked or down. This is a situation where we can’t change it," Crosby said. "The only opportunity is to make it better and that starts with winning the next game. … We’ve got to find a way to win a hockey game. When there’s adversity, that’s when you see guys’ true colors. I think we’ll show that [Wednesday]. We’re going to leave it all out there and give ourselves a chance to try and get back in this series."

* There was no controversy when coach Dan Bylsma took him off the top power-play unit. The idea was to create two top-end units, one led by Evgeni Malkin and the other by Crosby.

"It wasn't a big deal," he said.

* It's no surprise the Penguins haven't won a game yet in the series because, to Crosby, they haven't played a full game yet.

"You've got to be desperate and leave it all out there," Crosby said. "For us, the good thing is we still haven't played a full game yet. I think we'd all love to see the results of a full game. Hopefully it's the result we want."

Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby
Center - PIT
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 5
SOG: 5 | +/-: -1
The Penguins are down to one last game to see if they can play that full game Crosby is talking about. If they lose Wednesday, they will be swept in a four-game series for the first time since the 1979 quarterfinals.

However, their off-day practice didn't look much different from one in mid-February, with plenty of laughter and friendly byplay. Afterward, the players -- Crosby included -- said they know they can't reverse in one night what has happened during one puzzling week.

Yet that will be their focus in Game 4 -- be better than the Flyers for one night. Because if they do, the Penguins believe they will gain another chance to try to accomplish the same thing.

"People want to point fingers at everyone, and that’s not any different in this case," Crosby said. "Everyone has got their own reasons for why we’re losing and their own opinions. They’re entitled to those. But we know in this room we still have yet to put a game together. That’s no one’s fault but our own. There’s nothing we can do about that now. The only opportunity that we have is to make it better the next game."

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