Last word from Habs-Pens

May, 2, 2010

PITTSBURGH -- Game 2 marked the fourth straight game without a goal from Evgeni Malkin. He told Pittsburgh reporters he's doing his best.

"I'm not thinking about my goals because it's playoffs," Malkin said. "That game, you know, I tried. I had a couple chances, but the goalie played very well. I try to score next game. Goalie played very well. I'm not worried about my goals. I'm not thinking about it. I just try to help my team."

The defending playoff MVP acknowledged his lack of production might be making Pittsburgh fans nervous.

"I know I'm not scoring and people may be mad a little bit, but I'm trying," he said. "I play hard … just maybe some bad times and bad luck. It's OK. It's not bad. We go to Montreal, and I think we win next game and my game will be better -- 100 percent."

Subban continues to impress

One of the main reasons the Canadiens were able to overcome the loss of top defender Andrei Markov in Game 2 was the continued stellar play of rookie P.K. Subban. It seems a bit ridiculous to be gushing about a 20-year-old who played in just his fourth NHL playoff game Sunday, but we're gushing where gushing is due.

Subban drew an assist on Mike Cammalleri's power-play goal that turned out to be the winner in the second period. He now has a goal and two assists since being called up for Game 6 in the Washington series. On Sunday, with Markov back in Montreal being tended to by team doctors, Subban logged 23:17 in ice time, played on both the power play and penalty kill and managed to get in a little jawing time with Malkin.

"I don't know if 'surprised' is the right word, but 'impressed' for sure. He's helping our team a lot," Cammalleri said.

As for Subban, he said there's no time to be awestruck, nor is this the place to be playing any differently than he normally plays, even if it is the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"It is just a game. You can't focus on anything else but playing," Subban said. "It is fun for me, and it is fun for everybody. In these moments you can do two things -- you can freeze up, or you can grasp the moment and play for your teammates.

"It wouldn't be fair to the rest of the guys if I went out there and put my tail between my legs and not compete. That's all they ask, so I am trying my best out there. I just go out and do the job. If I get two minutes, I'll play two minutes. If I get 20, then I'll play 20. I don't try to focus on doing anything special. I'm just trying to do my job. Whatever I can do to help the team, I'll do."

As for his little exchange with Malkin, Subban said it wasn't an indication of a lack of respect.

"I've got tons of respect for Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby and guys like that," Subban said. "They're great players in this league, but when you're out there playing, it is playoff hockey, so sometimes it gets like that. I have a lot of respect for those guys."

How good has Jaroslav Halak been?

Courtesy of ESPN stats genius Vince Masi, Halak finds himself in pretty heady company so far this spring. Factoring in a minimum of eight postseason games played, Halak has the best save percentage (.931) of any Canadiens netminder. The next best performances are Patrick Roy (.929) in 1993, when the Habs won the Cup; Roy's performance (.923) in 1986, when the Habs also won the Cup; and Roy again (.920) in 1989, when the Habs lost to Calgary in the Cup finals.

Special teams

The stark difference between the success of the Pens' power play in Game 1 and the 0-for-3 in Game 2 was in lacking a shooter's mentality, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.

"I didn't think we truly took our shooting opportunities that we need to, pass the puck around the outside a little bit and we didn't get that puck to the net," Bylsma said. "In Game 1, within about seven seconds of every power play, we shot the puck to start it off, and [in Game 2] we didn't establish that shooter's mentality, and we didn't get the zone time that we had."

Cammy's run

Mike Cammalleri is on pace to become the highest-scoring Canadiens playoff performer in the past 20 years. Cammalleri's eight goals puts him just three behind Vincent Damphousse, who had 11 for the Canadiens in 1993, the most in the last two decades. Damphousse played 20 games for the Canadiens during their run to the Cup that spring. Cammalleri has eight goals in nine games.

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer




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