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To Crosby, goals don't matter as much as wins

by Shawn P. Roarke /
MONTREAL -- Sidney Crosby is no stranger to scoring droughts.

Despite never going more than seven games between goals in the regular season, Crosby knows what it means to struggle to score. In fact, he had a ton of trouble finding the net for Team Canada in the Olympics this past February.

But in the end, Crosby found a way, scoring one of the biggest goals in Canadian hockey history, as his overtime goal against the U.S. delivered Canada the gold medal in the most dramatic of fashions.

So as his Pittsburgh Penguins get ready for their first attempt to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens Monday in Game 6 at the Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS), Crosby remains confident he will begin scoring soon -- even if it has been an interminable seven straight postseason games without lighting the lamp for him.

Crosby insists that as his team tries to close out its sixth-straight playoff series on the road, he is not worried about his slump or the possible return of Montreal defenseman Hal Gill, who left Game 5 in the third period with a lacerated leg. Gill, who has been the primary defenseman assigned to play against Crosby, skated in Monday's morning skate. He will be a game-time decision.

No, all Crosby says he is worried about is his team getting to its game and winning this particular race to four. If a goal or two come in the process, he'll take it, but he'd rather just assure that his team will play in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third-straight year.

Question: Hal Gill skated this morning; were you hoping not to see him tonight on the ice?

Crosby: I didn't even know if he skated. You know what? It doesn't matter. They are skating as a team and defensively committing everyone. It may give you an extra half-second every once in a while with his long stick. But in the end, you have to play the same way because they are battling hard. That's not going to change.

Question: How different are elimination games?

Crosby: It's hard to tell. I think every team always wants to win every game, but there is that extra desperation with the circumstances. But I don't know. I think both teams have been pretty desperate throughout the series, so I see this just being a continuation of the last few games.

Question: Being on the road to close out series seems to be something you have a knack for?

Crosby: We've done a good job of that. I think everyone realizes when you are in this situation you have to expect the other team's best and you have to be prepared to have that same desperation. That is always how you have to prepare for it.

Question: How worried are you that they seem to play their best in crisis mode?

Crosby: That's probably the same for most teams. When you are desperate, you are doing all those things and you leave it all out there. Like I said, that's what we expect and we have to play with the same mentality.

Question: When you go through stretches when you don't score goals, does that personally frustrate you or bother you?

Crosby: I work harder. I try to keep doing the right things and create the right habits. But it happens. There's never a point when you think you are past that and you are not going to go through those stretches. It's not the first time it has happened and it won't be the last. The quicker you can put one in, the better. But at the same time, you better really look at yourself and your game honestly when you are in situations like that. If you can do that and find out what you can improve on, then you have to trust that things will happen.

Question: You got these questions at the Olympics until you had that moment, didn't you?

Crosby: That's the way it goes. That comes with the territory. I realize that and I can sit here and answer them. That's fine. I don't like being in that situation, but I also understand what comes with it.

Question: When we talked to you yesterday about Hal Gill, you and Max (Talbot) were both cynical that he would be out of the lineup. I guess you know him pretty well?

Crosby: It's the playoffs and we have a pretty good example of a guy on our team ourselves (Jordan Staal). I think, at the same time, you can't get caught thinking about who is in and who is out. You have to worry about yourselves no matter what the situation is. We respect their team and he is a part of their team. We respect what they have done and the way they are playing. We all know one guy isn't responsible for team success. If he's back, that's great for them. If not, we still don't want to change anything.

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