Crosby unable to find his stride in Montreal
MONTREAL — A childhood fan of the Montreal Canadiens, Sidney Crosby has a fond and vivid memory of scoring two goals in his first game at Bell Centre as a rookie.
Good thing, considering the Penguins captain hasn't tallied here since.
For the ninth consecutive game, Crosby went without a goal here, as the Penguins' lost Game 4, 3-2, Thursday night to even their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2.
Crosby has gone five games without a goal, but still leads all playoffs scorers with 17 points. He led all playoffs scorers with 15 goals last year.
"I think you always feel like that, whether I have eight (goals) at this point and it's 2-2 or whether I have none," said Crosby, who has five goals in 10 playoff games. "You try to make sure you are doing your part. I wouldn't change anything. Honestly, I wouldn't change what I am doing out there.
"All you try to do is try to do the right things and get the results."
Crosby set up the Penguins' go-ahead goal, first by chopping down the stick of Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik to keep the Canadiens from clearing, then by possessing the puck behind the Montreal net and feeding Chris Kunitz in the slot to make it 2-1 at 5:18 of the first period.
The Canadiens scored the final two goals to get the victory.
Crosby's best goal-scoring opportunity was blocked at 10:29 of the third period, when defenseman Josh Gorges sprawled out in front of goalie Jaroslav Halak to stop a point-blank shot near the left post.
"It's not just the defensemen that are out there, it's the forwards coming back and back-pressuring and putting the heat on him and forcing him to skate into us," Gorges said. "That allows us to stand up and be in his face. We've got five guys playing team defense. When you do that, it's tough for any player to penetrate. They have to make two or three really good passes to penetrate. We have to keep putting pressure on him."
Since scoring twice in his debut at Bell Centre in January 2006, Crosby has five points — all assists — at the venue. This is the Penguins' first postseason trip to Montreal since 1998.
The hero of Canada's gold-medal Olympic team as the author of the Golden Goal has yet to produce a goal, home or away, in this second-round series. He recorded two picture-perfect assists in the Game 1 victory but was scoreless in both the Game 2 defeat and Game 3 victory.
"He's a great player, obviously. Don't get me wrong, he and (Evgeni) Malkin are probably frustrated right now, but the last two years they were in the finals and last year they won," Halak said. "I don't think they're panicking right now. It's 2-2. To them, it's probably, 'Let's put this one behind us and focus on the next one.' We have to do the same thing."
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