Crosby looks to snap Bell Centre skid

May, 4, 2010

MONTREAL -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has not scored a goal at the Bell Centre since his rookie season in 2005-06. He's gone seven straight games without a goal in Montreal, although he does have five assists over that period.

Canadiens checking forward Tom Pyatt said it was nice to see Crosby show his frustration in Montreal's Game 2 win, smashing his stick on the Montreal goal.

"Obviously, it's nice when you see the other team getting frustrated," Pyatt said. "If he was frustrated, that's great for us. We want to keep pressuring him and being on him and being physical on him. He's a player you don't want to give too much space to."

Speaking of Pyatt ...

A year ago, Pyatt was a member of the New York Rangers organization, finishing his second year with their AHL team in Hartford.

"Actually, this time last year, I was back home already," he said. "We lost in the first round last year, so I was home watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's amazing how fast things turn around.

"It's kind of funny. Your whole life, you're a huge fan of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and then all of a sudden you're playing against Crosby and [Alex] Ovechkin. It wakes you up. Still, sometimes it's hard to believe, but it's been an exciting time so far and I just want to keep on playing."

The hardworking center has been a key member of the Canadiens' strong penalty-killing unit this spring. The Habs, of course, allowed just one power-play goal against Washington in the first round; they then rebounded from a difficult Game 1, when the Penguins scored four times with the man advantage, to shut Pittsburgh down in Game 2 and even the series 1-1.

Although the Staal family will always be the most famous hockey family from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Pyatt and his brother Taylor, a winger with the Phoenix Coyotes, also hail from the town. In fact, Pyatt and Marc Staal are good friends; they played together during minor hockey and keep in touch throughout the NHL season and hang out during the summer.

Pyatt recalls being at the party Eric Staal held at the family's rural home on the Carolina forward's day with the Stanley Cup.

"I stopped by there that night just to hang out for a bit. It's pretty special when you see him hoisting that Cup coming out of the house," Pyatt said.

Pyatt said he avoided touching the trophy, following a long tradition of not getting too close to the Cup until you've won it.

"No, you can't touch that. No one touched it. All the hockey players stood far away from it," he said. "It's tough when you see everyone having fun with it and drinking out of it. You want to get close to it, but you know you stay away. That's just the thing."

Guerin a game-time call

If Pittsburgh's Bill Guerin cannot go in Game 3, look for rookie Mark Letestu to make his NHL playoff debut, centering the team's third checking line with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. The 25-year-old, who signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent back in March 2007 and scored 21 goals in 63 games for the Penguins' AHL affiliate this season, admitted he probably won't get much of a pregame nap.

"Probably not, [the] adrenaline will be pumping pretty good," said Letestu, who grew up in Saskatoon. "This is the team that I grew up watching. This is dad's favorite team, so it's got a little extra meaning to it. Being in the building, it gives you chills, it's pretty cool. Hopefully I don't get too amped up, kind of keep it under control and play a solid game."

His parents will be glued to the television even more so than usual. "They still watch all the games, so they'll be pretty excited for tonight," he said.

If there is an area of concern for the Canadiens moving forward in what could be a long series, it is Montreal coach Jacques Martin's lack of confidence in his fourth line.

In the Canadiens' 3-1 win in Game 2, the fourth line was a nonfactor. Andrei Kostitsyn played 1:43, Mathieu Darche played all of 54 seconds and center Ben Maxwell played 1:03. The line was on the ice for the Penguins' lone goal of the game and was essentially a nonfactor after that.

Martin said he's been using a shorter bench for the last five games, dating back to Game 5 of the Washington series, but acknowledged it's not ideal long-term.

"I probably haven't used as many people as you'd like," Martin said. He would like to find situations when he could use them more, "because we're going to need all those people."

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer



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