Buffalo Sabres v Pittsburgh Penguins

Video: Cause for concern with Sidney Crosby after collision with Hagelin?

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Sidney Crosby was slow to get up after being involved in a collision with Carl Hagelin during the third period of Game 2, but the Pittsburgh Penguins captain remained in the game.

Is it enough to cause concern for Crosby, who has a history of concussions and missed 68 games after being on the receiving end of a similar hit in the 2011 Winter Classic?

Crosby had a big game for the Penguins, scoring twice to bust his personal playoff slump in their win over the Rangers on Saturday to even the series.

Afterward, Crosby said he was caught in the jaw but thought the collision might have been accidental, as per Tom Gulitti of The Record.

“I don’t know what hit me, if it was shoulder, stick, his head. It could have been anything,” said Crosby.

“Just two guys collided. That’s basically what it is,” he added.

Video: Sidney Crosby strikes twice to bust personal playoff scoring slump

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Sidney Crosby had just one goal in 19 playoff games before Saturday’s clash between his Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers.

Then, within the span of 4:39 late in the second period, Crosby struck twice to give his team the lead in Game 2 of that first-round series, which the Penguins trail 1-0.

Pittsburgh was down a goal after the first period, but erupted with three in the middle period to take a 3-1 lead, despite being short-handed five different times in the game. Crosby had two of those goals on three shots through 40 minutes.

(Video) PHT Extra: On the ‘nitpicking’ of Sidney Crosby

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins
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Sidney Crosby only has 71 points in 64 games.

He may not even win the scoring race.

What a disaster!

He should probably just retire.

OK, fine, maybe Jim Rutherford is right and we’re “nitpicking” a bit.

Maybe Crosby’s numbers are down (slightly) because he isn’t “cheating” defensively and he’s more committed to playing a two-way game.

And perhaps he’s a victim of an evolving NHL, where there’s “less room” to operate and fewer power plays than there were a few years ago.

That being said, it’s no secret the NHL is a young man’s game; a league in which players are considered “genetic freaks” if they’re able to remain dominant into their 30s. At 27 years old — and with around 700 games, regular season and playoffs combined, on the ol’ body odometer — Sid the Kid is well into middle age by hockey standards.

So…are his most prolific scoring years behind him?

Sidney Crosby on his down year: ‘I wouldn’t change anything I’m doing’

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Sidney Crosby might not hit 100 points this season. He’s only on pace to hit 86, according to NHL.com.

And while he may be only two points off the league lead as of Friday afternoon, before the New York Islanders on John Tavares hit the ice for their game against the Senators, this is being talked about as a down season for Crosby.

His goal totals are down from a year ago. His point total is down.

And yet, he’s manufactured a Corsi For rating of 55.7 per cent at five-on-five, which suggests puck possession isn’t an issue.

“I wouldn’t change anything I’m doing, to be honest with you,” said Crosby, as per The Canadian Press. “I’m working hard. I’m doing my best. If people’s expectations are higher than mine, then I can’t change that.”

On an individual level, this is his third worst season for shooting percentage, behind the lockout-shortened season and the 2011-12 campaign, when he played only 22 games.

The Penguins team shooting percentage with Crosby on the ice during five-on-five play this season has dropped below nine per cent, which is the lowest its been in his time as an NHL player, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

“I’d love to score more,” he later added.

“You can’t explain why pucks hit posts and bounce out instead of in. I don’t have a great explanation for you. Other than probably a handful of times this year, I feel like some of those pucks would usually find a way to go in and not out.”

While his point totals might be down overall, he’s been a regular contributor on the score sheet over the past three weeks. Four times in his last nine games, he’s recorded two points or more.

Oddsmaker: Sidney Crosby no longer Hart Trophy favorite

Sidney Crosby
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Although Sidney Crosby is on a three-game point streak, he went on a rough stretch — at least when measured against the incredibly high standard he’s held to — from Jan. 20 to Feb. 19 where he recorded four goals and seven points in 13 games.

That seems to have taken its toll as Crosby’s no longer the favorite to win the Hart Trophy based on the odds from online bookmaker Bovada:

Carey Price 5/2
John Tavares 5/2
Sidney Crosby 3/1
Ryan Getzlaf 5/1
Alex Ovechkin 6/1
Jakub Voracek 15/2
Rick Nash 15/1
Mark Giordano 20/1
Vladimir Tarasenko 20/1

No goaltender has won the Hart Trophy since Jose Theodore in 2001–02, but there’s no denying that Carey Price has been vital to the Montreal Canadiens’ success. Meanwhile, Tavares was the big mover as he had 20/1 odds in early February.

Ovechkin also saw his chances jump significantly, from 15/1 to 6/1 as he chases his third straight Rocket Richard Trophy. Voracek has fallen from 9/2 to 15/2 while Philadelphia Flyers teammate Claude Giroux has slid off the list entirely.