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Stanley Cup Final

Sidney Crosby, Penguins not fazed by P.K. Subban guarantee

Focus on fixing power play, quieting Nashville crowd, not defenseman's prediction of Predators win in Game 3

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said they have paid little, if any, attention to P.K. Subban's guarantee that his Nashville Predators will win Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"Nobody's really talked about it, to be honest with you," Crosby said Friday. "I think we know that this time of year, there's no shortage of motivation. Going into this situation, we expect their best game and we expect a desperate team. It's not something we've discussed. At this point, you're motivated enough. We know that we've got to be ready tomorrow."

The Penguins, who lead the best-of-7 series 2-0, are more concerned about their own issues heading into Game 3, particularly their power play, which is 1-for-10 in the series after going 0-for-7 in Game 2.

 

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"It probably starts with me," Crosby said. "I've got to win a few more faceoffs. That will go a long way as far as getting possession. They pressure a lot. They're trying to force mistakes. I think once you make a little mistake, they're jumping and make it difficult on you.

"It really comes down to execution. We have guys out there that can make plays and are capable of, when there is a mistake, finding a way to make a play that we get a chance out of. Just being patient … it's not always going to be pretty. You're just making sure you execute well, and that's the biggest thing for us."

The Penguins are 15-for-66 (22.7 percent) on the power play in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, second to the Washington Capitals (25.0 percent) among teams that advanced past the first round.

In Game 2, Pittsburgh was 3-for-10 on faceoffs and had two shots on goal during 11:26 on the power play.

Video: Subban claims Predators will win Game 3

"Obviously, if you can win that first faceoff, it's a big deal, because it's zone time right away," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "You don't have to spend 20, 25 seconds trying to gain access to the zone, and expend energy trying to do so. I think that's an important element of our power play, in particular.

"The other aspect of it is, I think we can shoot the puck, we've had opportunities to shoot the puck, a little bit more. I think we can get more pucks to the net. I've always been a believer that nothing breaks coverage down better than a shot on goal. We can create our offense off of that."

Game 3 will be Crosby's 22nd career game in the Stanley Cup Final. He believes that experience can help him avoid the temptation to get ahead of himself while two victories from winning the Cup for a third time.

"I think it does (help) a little bit," Crosby said. "Just going through those experiences, I think you understand there's no point, there's nothing you can really gain by looking ahead.

"I think you understand a game like tomorrow, you expect a pretty desperate hockey team. You know you did what you wanted to do at home, but there's lots of hockey left. Those things help, but it still doesn't mean it makes it any easier sometimes. I think it definitely helps the process."

Video: Michelle McMahon on the Penguins going to Nashville

Crosby remembers the feeling from his first Final, in 2008, going home down 2-0 in the series. Pittsburgh failed to score a goal in the first two games against the Detroit Red Wings, won Game 3 3-2 and lost the series in six games.

"Yeah [I remember it]," Crosby said. "Your desperation level is really high and you're thinking of one game. We know that Game 3 is an important game and that's all that's on their mind right now, so we have to make sure our desperation level is there and we have our best game in Game 3."

The Penguins will look to take the raucous Bridgestone Arena crowd out of it early.

"I think we just try to set the tone ourselves the best we can," Crosby said. "We watch games on TV and we can see that they play a pretty inspired game here. I think (we'll) just try to go with the same mindset we have on the road all playoffs long. We know that they feed off their crowd. Hopefully, we can get on them early."

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