All right so Crosby’s first game back was just about everything anyone who is a fan of his or the Penguins could’ve hoped for. Scoring two goals and adding two assists after missing nearly a year of action makes for a pretty special night no matter how you look at it. What can we take away from his first game in general though? There’s a few things.
1. There’s no doubt about Crosby’s legs. The speed in which Crosby got around Andrew MacDonald to score his first goal must’ve taken MacDonald by surprise because he was slow to react on the play and got blown right by before Sid finished with a backhand roof shot to beat Anders Nilsson.
2. Dan Bylsma stuck to his plan after letting Crosby run wild in the first period. Crosby played 7:10 of the first leading us to believe that there was no way he was going to just play 12-15 minutes. He finished the night just over 15 minutes of ice time cycling Crosby out of his line at times with either Evgeni Malkin or Jordan Staal. Nice options to have.
3. Sid looked a bit winded at times and hey, who can blame him. Yes, he’s had nearly a year away from the game but spinning your wheels for the first time in a real game sequence can burn you out fast. It happens to the best of the players out there and definitely happened to Crosby. The Penguins might be most thankful to Travis Hamonic for not treating Crosby with kid gloves.
4. I’ll be the party pooper a bit here. Yes, Crosby lit up a emotionless wet blanket of a team in the Islanders who were more than happy to throw out 21 year-old rookie Nilsson in goal to deal with that circus atmosphere last night. We’ll get a slightly better judgment of how far along Crosby is when the Pens face the Blues on Wednesday night and Ottawa on Friday.
There’s plenty to like out of what Crosby did in his first game, now we’ll get to see how he follows things up on Wednesday night.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.