The San Jose Sharks were clearly outplayed for most of Game 2 on Wednesday night, but they managed to force overtime when Justin Braun scored late in regulation.
Unfortunately for San Jose, the extra frame didn’t last very long. Conor Sheary beat Martin Jones at the 2:35 mark of overtime (top) to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in the series. Sheary’s game-winner came just seconds after Sidney Crosby won an important offensive zone faceoff.
Why does Sharks forward Logan Couture think Crosby is able to win those offensive faceoffs so cleanly?
“He cheats,” said Couture after Game 2, per the Mercury News. “He gets away with that. He’s Sidney Crosby.
“He times them, and yet they don’t kick him out for some reason; probably because of who he is.”
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was on the ice for the game-winning goal, also believes Crosby could have been kicked out of the dot prior to Sheary’s goal.
“Maybe he should have been kicked out (on the winning goal),” Vlasic said, per Sportsnet. “It took a while to get into the faceoff. But what do I know.”
Crosby’s won just over 52 percent of his faceoffs in the postseason, but there’s no denying that he’s been dominant in that aspect of the game in this series. The Pens captain won 56 percent of his draws in Game 1 and an incredible 71 percent in Game 2.
“I’ve said it on a number of occasions: He’s not as good as he is by accident,” said Pens head coach Mike Sullivan. “He works extremely hard at it. He prides himself in the details of the game, like faceoffs. Because of that, I don’t think it surprises anyone that he’s able to dominate in the faceoff circle or in some of the other aspects of his game.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Bob McKenzie shares his memories of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie, who apparently was a big hockey fan. (TSN)
Don Cherry discusses John Brophy’s toughness after the former Leafs coach recently passed away. (Sportsnet)
A look at Vincent Lecavalier‘s career. (Greatest Hockey Legends)
The perils of flip-flopping goalies in the playoffs … although it worked out for the Penguins at least last night. (The Hockey News)
Speaking of which, will the Blues get burned for switching back to Brian Elliott in Game 6 tonight? Here’s a preview:
Sidney Crosby has a chance to join a very rare club of clutch goal-scorers if he can win it for Pittsburgh in Game 7:
With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.
Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.
The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.
Tampa Bay Lightning fans might be sad to see Ben Bishop out of the lineup – at least for now – but they’d be foolish to feel disappointed about the way Andrei Vasilevskiy has been playing.
The highlight of Game 2 so far might just be his save against frustrated Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby. It was a great attempt by Crosby, yet Vasilevskiy somehow pulled off the stop.
You can watch video of that impeccable play in the video above this post’s headline. Also, here’s a GIF of that moment:
Also, an alternate angle:
Vasilevskiy has enjoyed some other nice moments, including this big stop on Chris Kunitz that provided clear evidence that the young goalie wasn’t sleepwalking into the contest:
Matt Murray allowed a couple goals during the first period that had people talking about Marc-Andre Fleury, but maybe this save will boost his confidence (and his coach’s confidence in him?):
Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, ‘Hawks forward Patrick Kane and Stars forward Jamie Benn have been selected as the finalists for the Hart Trophy. The award is given to the player who is most valuable to his team’s success.
Crosby got off to an incredibly slow start this season, but he managed to turn things around in a big way. The 28-year-old finished the year with 36 goals and 85 points in 80 games. Crosby won the Hart Trophy in 2007 and 2013. If he wins it this year, he’ll become the second player in franchise history to win the award three times (Mario Lemieux was the first).
Benn, who led the league in scoring last season, had another huge year in 2015-16. The Stars captain racked up 41 goals and 89 points in 82 games. Both totals are career-highs for Benn.
Kane led all players in scoring this past season with 106 points in 82 games. The 27-year-old was the only NHLer to surpass the 100-point plateau in 2015-16. Kane also recorded an impressive 26-game point streak during the season.
Some expected the league’s best team (in the regular season), the Washington Capitals, to have at least one Hart Trophy nominee, but neither Alex Ovechkin or Braden Holtby made the cut.