OTTAWA – For the first time in this series, Sidney Crosby was not the focal point of a game against the Ottawa Senators.
Crosby entered Saturday night’s game with 14 points in the first five contests, but did not get on the scoreboard in Game 6. In fact, he was a minus-2. Yet his Penguins somehow found a way to rally from a 3-0 deficit and earn a 4-3 overtime win at Scotiabank Place that eliminated the Senators and moved Pittsburgh into the second round.
The Penguins don’t know whom they will play yet as they await the winners from the two Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series still in play.
Crosby talked Saturday night about his team’s ability to bounce back from adversity, as well as its depth. He also talked about two of the game’s unsung heroes -- goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and third-line center Jordan Staal, who had the primary assist on the game-winning goal by Pascal Dupuis at 9:56 of the first overtime. Matt Cooke, with two goals, and Bill Guerin, on the power play, had Pittsburgh’s goals in regulation.
He also talked about what his team learned from this six-game series, which featured back-to-back overtime games after Pittsburgh to a 3-1 series lead and looked to have control of the series.
Q: What do you take from a win like this?
Crosby: It means we have room to improve, but I think you take some good signs away from having guys like Cookie and Dupes step up and score those big goals. They have been doing a lot of good things throughout the year. For them to come up in this situation and come up big like that, that’s huge and that builds confidence as a team and that helps. But at same time, being in the situation like we were and having a team on the ropes like we did; we didn’t hand it to them, it went three overtimes. But, at the same time I still think our desperation could have been a little better. It was good at times and it wasn’t where it needed to be at times.
Q: Was there a feeling even at 3-0 that Flower had sort of kept you guys within striking distance if you could just get one?
Crosby: Like I said, after the first, we felt all right. We held off that 10, 12 minutes of them just coming wave after wave at us and flower did an unbelievable job of keeping it at just one. I thought in the second half of that period we came on a little bit. Then, they get a couple and we are back behind the 8-ball. But he definitely bought us some time to hang on.
Q: What does it say about your team that they can win without you or (Evgeni Malkin) scoring?
Crosby: It says a lot. We’re going to do our best to create things, but there are going to be nights when it is tougher than others and some nights where it may not go in or whatever the case is -- but we still have to do things out there and we still have to be productive, whether or not it is on the scoresheet. We have to be responsible out there and find ways to help. Certainly, there are other guys that can step up and score goals, like we saw here tonight.
Q: Jordan (Staal) was saying you guys needed to find the killer instinct in this series. Did you find quite a bit of that tonight in the third period?
Crosby: We went after them. Even in OT, I thought we had a lot better mindset than we did at home. Especially the first two overtimes last game at home, we felt like it was 50-50 and we didn’t really go after them. I think it was more of a carry over of our third period tonight. We just tried to bring the same exact game into overtime. I think we did some good things. It’s never easy when it goes that many overtimes. You have to get back into it. That shows a lot of character, so it’s a big one to get here.
Q: Is Jordan one of those guys just made for the playoffs?
Crosby: Yeah, you see the way he plays out there. He is as two-way as it gets. He’s tough to play against as far as his defensive game; he doesn’t give you a lot. But, at the same time, he can be dangerously offensively, too. He helps all over for us.
Q: Was this a tougher series than you thought it was going to be?
Crosby: No, this is what we expected. Look at their lineup. Look at their D and things like that. We’ve played them; this is my third time, I think, in five years. We’ve got a pretty good idea for both teams and the way they play. So, I think that was a pretty good evidence of what it brings out in both (teams).
Q: Can you see anyway that this brought something out of you guys that maybe you guys were having trouble finding through the 82 games of the regular season?
Crosby: Yeah, I mean, sometimes maybe we weren’t as consistent about finding ways to win games and with good teams that is a common trait – no matter if you are coming back. We always talk about dealing with adversity and we had to deal with a bit. But, in the playoffs, that’s when the stakes are much higher. We did a great job of facing it and going after it.