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.
People love star athletes because they can do amazing things. Even so, people also often love to see the occasional moment of weakness.
Aside from the occasional injury hiccup, Sidney Crosby‘s been as advertised after being a super-hyped No. 1 overall pick. He has that “Golden Goal,” two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup ring and plenty of individual accolades.
Not many people expected the Capitals-Penguins series to be over in five games, but there’s a chance that could happen before the end of the week. After their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Capitals are one loss away from being bounced from the 2016 playoffs.
The Capitals failed to take advantage of the fact that Kris Letang was suspended for Game 4 because of his hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3. Letang is now set to return for Game 5 which makes Washington’s task even more difficult.
“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com. “One thing I said to the guys coming into this, and we talked it about it yesterday, was when Kris got his suspension, is that they’re going to rally. Their whole team, their forwards are going to come back. They talked about they didn’t play their best game (in Game 3) and now they have Letang out and everybody had to step up on their side, and I thought they did.”
If you look back at the regular season, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and the league for a good portion of the season. Washington finished 11 points ahead of second place Dallas in the league standings and it looked like they had the team that would finally take them over the hump.
Although things look gloomy, it’s important to realize that the series is far from over. Many NHLers would tell you that the fourth win is always the hardest to come by in a best-of-seven series, and by no means is anyone expecting the Capitals to wave the white flag.
“Whenever you lose a game, it’s obviously an opportunity missed, but it had nothing to do with them missing some of their players,” said Caps forward Jay Beagle, per NHL.com. “We’re looking forward. Our back’s against the wall and the most important game of our lives is coming up.”
Game 5 goes Saturday night in Washington.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.