Published: Saturday, April 14, 2007
Penguins' Crosby isn't concerned with Ottawa
The 19-year-old NHL scoring leader is only worried about his play.
OTTAWA (AP) The Ottawa Senators have done as good a job of defending Sidney Crosby as any team in the NHL.
Even so, Pittsburgh's 19-year-old said when he takes the ice today for Game 2 of the first-round playoff series with Ottawa he is going to take the same approach he used to become the league's youngest scoring leader.
"Whoever I play, whether it's Ottawa or anybody else, I always worry about me, I don't worry about who I'm playing against," said Crosby, who scored a late power-play goal in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Senators. "It's always a challenge every time you play. You know you're playing against some strong defensive players and you always prepare yourself the same way and that's the way I look at it."
Crosby has yet to record an even-strength point against Ottawa this season, including four regular season games.
"I just have to move my feet and skate, and I'm confident that when I skate I'm going to create chances or they're going to have to take penalties," Crosby said. "It's going to be one of the two. For sure, there are probably going to be less opportunities to score, but you have to make sure that when you get them, you put them in. It's just a matter of being focused and executing."
Senators to continue matchup
Senators coach Bryan Murray paired defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips against Crosby Wednesday and will continue that matchup in Game 2.
"He's a scary guy," Murray said. "You watch him, every shift out there he tries to do something and he most often does something. If he gets a little more play from a couple of other guys that he passes the puck to on the power play, in particular, I think that he'll be dangerous."
Murray said he didn't have any secret to defending against Crosby.
"We have a couple of defensemen that seem to do a fine job and we respect him so much as far as our third and fourth man," Murray said. "We ask them to get back and help all the time in the defensive zone. If he has the puck through the neutral zone, he has the puck through the neutral zone. But in the offensive zone we've got to get him to pass it off to one of his wingers as early as we can and then make sure we're close to him."
Not a one-player team
Penguins coach Michel Therrien made the point that his team is not just one player.
"It's not only Crosby, and that's got to kind of stop a little bit," Therrien said. "For us, the team has to play better and I'm confident that we will. We play a team game and it's an important game and we'll be ready. We will be less surprised than our first game. A lot of those guys, it was their first game, now they know what to expect so we're expecting better."
The Penguins' first goal Wednesday was scored by 18-year-old Jordan Staal, whose play drew praise from Therrien. Evgeni Malkin, another Pittsburgh rookie-of-the-year candidate, was less of a presence in his playoff debut.
Malkin, who was checked early and often Wednesday, had no shots and no hits in 19:22 of ice time, including 7:44 on the power play. He also lost 16 of 18 faceoffs.
"It's an adjustment for him, his first year in the NHL," Therrien said. "He used to play around 45 games a year and it's a pretty demanding schedule to play in your first year in North America with all the travel and all the pressure that a young kid can receive. But he'll be fine. Those type of players always find a way to get success."
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