Pens are going to stay simple against Habs

, Last Updated: 8:57 PM ET

PITTSBURGH - Sidney Crosby thinks he knows what it’s going to take to beat the Montreal Canadiens.

Patience.

The Canadiens upset the Washington Capitals by weathering the Caps offensive flurries. They Caps got frustrated and when they got the chance, the Canadiens made the most of some opportunistic scoring.

If the Canadiens want to try checking the defending Stanley Cup champions to a standstill, Crosby said he thinks the Penguins have learned how to deal with that approach.

“The biggest trapping team we played was New Jersey and the first few games we were a bit stubborn,” said Crosby. “We tried to find a way around it and through it and we found out there’s no use forcing things because that makes it more difficult.

“We realize it takes hard work, a lot of time in the offensive zone chipping pucks, things that might seem pretty simple, but things you have to enforce. It may not show right away, but as the game goes on, they really pay off.”

Crosby, who has 11 goals, 14 assists and 25 points in 18 career regular season games against the Habs, also noted the way the Canadiens were throwing themselves in front of shots.

The Canadiens blocked a total of 182 shots in the seven-game series, including 41 in the Habs’ 2-1 victory in Game 7 Wednesday night.

“That’s something they’ve committed to. You can’t change a whole lot. You have to have the mindset to shoot,” said Crosby. “You’ve got to remember when guys commit that much to blocking shots and they don’t block them, that leaves space behind them.”

The Penguins owned a 3-1 record against the Habs in the regular season, outscoring them 15-9.

Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak, maybe the MVP of the first round, got the only win in the regular season, a 5-3 decision in Montreal Feb. 3 in the last meeting between the two teams.

HEAR AND THERE: Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill got a few text messages from his former teammates with the Penguins after the Habs eliminated the Caps and Alexander Ovechkin. “I got a few texts saying congrats. I think they like it just because Ovechkin is out. Everyone in this city loves to beat Ovechkin,” he said...The Canadiens had Thursday off, but were to meet starting Thursday night to discuss their gameplan for beating the Pens...Pittsburgh D Jordan Leopold, out with a concussion since that hit by Ottawa defenceman Andy Sutton in Game 2, practised Wednesday, but is not expected to play Friday night. “It looked worse than it was,” he said of the hit.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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