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Crosby isn’t playing in Nashville this weekend, but he’s on a roll for the Penguins

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Sidney Crosby not taking part in an All-Star Game is really nothing new, and there are a variety of reasons — mainly injuries, Olympics — as to why.

Even if he was left off the 2016 All-Star Game roster for the Metropolitan Division, not being at this event is nothing out of the ordinary.

But what was out of the ordinary was the start to this season the 28-year-old Crosby endured.

He went five games without a point to begin this season. He also failed to produce a point in eight of the first nine games of the season. And yes, that was unusual for someone who when healthy is among the most dominant in the game and a five-time 100-plus point player.

But since Dec. 16, he’s been on a torrid pace.

“I think with the start I had, that was motivation enough,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I don’t really see (the All-Star game voting) as a big factor.”

In the last 17 games, Crosby has been held off the score sheet only three times. In this recent span, he’s also put up eight multi-point games.

And after all the Penguins and Crosby have been through this season — the firing of coach Mike Johnston and added levels of frustration among teammates — they’ve entered the All-Star break with a three-game winning streak and a Wild Card spot.

 

 

NHL on NBCSN: Banged up Blues look to quiet Crosby and the Pens

Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) puts the puck behind St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) for a game-winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. The Penguins won 4-3. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

The St. Louis Blues are having a good season, but it hasn’t come without adversity.

The Blues have suffered a ton of injuries this year, and they’re currently missing six of their regulars.

Jaden Schwartz, Steve Ott, Magnus Paajarvi, Jay Bouwmeester, Carl Gunnarsson and Jake Allen could all miss Monday’s tilt against the Pens.

Despite being badly outplayed at times on Saturday night, the Blues were still able to come away with two points against Montreal.

Pittsburgh was dominant in a 5-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.

After starting the season ice cold, Sidney Crosby looks like he’s finally starting to come around offensively. The 28-year-old scored two goals against the ‘Canes on Sunday and he has 27 points in his last 26 contests.

The captain scored a pair of goals in a 4-3 overtime win over St. Louis back on Nov. 25.

The Pens are still on the outside looking in when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but they have their destiny in their own hands. Pittsburgh is one point back of Montreal, who are in the final Wild Card spot in the East, with two games in hand.

Pittsburgh has some injury concerns of their own coming into this one.

Defenseman Kris Letang will be a game-time decision against the Blues. He missed Sunday’s game with a wrist injury. Pittsburgh could also be without David Warsofsky. He was injured after falling over referee Tim Peel.

Here’s Evgeni Malkin‘s game-winning goal against the Blues earlier this season:

 

The kid was hot tonight: Crosby scores two goals in 5-0 win over ‘Canes

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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PITTSBURGH (AP) Sidney Crosby scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 shots for his third shutout of the season and 41st of his career as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 on Sunday.

Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley scored his third of the season in his 800th NHL game. Olli Maatta scored his fifth and Conor Sheary his second for the Penguins, who are one of several teams in the hunt for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh won for just the second time in six games, but the Penguins picked up points for the 10th time in 12 games.

The Penguins also ended a three-game winless stretch against Carolina, which defeated them twice in the last month, including an overtime loss on Tuesday.

Carolina lost its second straight after a recent four-game winning streak. The Hurricanes, following an overtime loss against Vancouver on Friday, had at least a point in their last five games.

The Hurricanes allowed three or more goals in 15 of the last 26 games against Pittsburgh, going 1-11-3 in those outings.

Eddie Lack, playing in his 100th NHL game, stopped 27 shots for Carolina.

Crosby gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead, scoring a power-play goal with 36.3 seconds left in the second period. The puck went off Crosby’s skate and into the goal at the right post after a sharp Phil Kessel feed from the left point. A review of the goal was upheld and Carolina’s challenge of offsides on the play also proved inconclusive. Pittsburgh entered the third period with a three-goal lead.

Crosby scored his second goal in the third period, putting a wrist shot in the top corner behind Lack off the rush. Crosby has points in 10 of his last 13 games, scoring eight goals and 17 points during the span. He has 14 goals and 36 points after beginning the season with one goal and five points in his first 11 games.

Carl Hagelin made his debut for the Penguins on Sunday, playing on a line with Kessel and Evgeni Malkin. The speedy forward was acquired Saturday morning from Anaheim for forward David Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening.

Hagelin enjoyed back-to-back 17-goal seasons with the New York Rangers and played a key role on one of the top penalty killing units in the league. Hagelin, who scored the overtime goal that eliminated Pittsburgh from the playoffs last season, was traded to Anaheim during the summer where he struggled with four goals and 12 points in 43 games.

Maatta opened the scoring for Pittsburgh 3:54 into the game. He worked around Jeff Skinner along the right wing boards, cut toward the goal and put a shot in the top right corner.

Pittsburgh’s fourth line forced a turnover at the Carolina blue line to set up Sheary’s goal later in the period.

The Penguins successfully killed a 5-on-3 power play for 43 seconds in the second period after Hagelin was sent off for hooking.

NOTES: Penguins’ D Kris Letang missed Sunday’s game with a hand injury. Letang, who was hurt Friday at Tampa Bay, will be a game-time decision Monday at St. Louis. … Penguins D David Warsofsky left in the third period after a collision with the referee. … Hurricanes’ F Brad Malone played his 100th game with the team. … Carolina is back in action Thursday at Toronto.

Crosby admits it’s a ‘little weird’ for Pens to fight for ‘playoff life’

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As they ready for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves in a fairly unfamiliar position: on the outside of the playoff picture.

Granted, they’re not that far outside of the East’s top eight, but it’s a far cry from the sort of work one usually expects from the Penguins.

It seems like it’s leaving Sidney Crosby with a fish-out-of-water feeling, as NHL.com reports.

“It’s maybe a little weird to think that, at the halfway point, you’re fighting for your playoff life,” Crosby said. “But that’s the situation for a lot of teams. Finding that desperation and understanding is important, and hopefully something that’s going to help us here.”

On the bright side, the Penguins have been looking much better lately. They’re 5-2-2 in their last seven games and seem to be showing an offensive burst they often lacked under Mike Johnston.

That seems especially true for Crosby, who looks more and more like … well, Sidney Crosby.

Overall, this isn’t exactly a hopeless situation for the Penguins, yet it’s probably an unusual feeling to face so much uncertainty.

Maybe it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise in the long run?

Seeing Crosby, Malkin ‘dancing around’ left Subban muttering expletives

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 9:  PK Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens has words with Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on October 9, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Canadiens defeated the Penguins 3-2.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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The beauty and danger of post-game interviews is that, even in an age of “brand consciousness,” players and coaches sometimes let their true feelings slip.

That happened on Saturday when P.K. Subban let a few naughty words fly following the Montreal Canadiens’ 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

(Here’s your chance to apply the digital version of earmuffs, as the uncensored version of his comments can be seen at the end of this post.)

Just look at how different Subban’s demeanor seemed to be once he got a little time to cool off:

The Canadian Press caught up with Subban on Monday, and he further explained why he lost his cool (while providing his trademark charm when discussing the fact that he got “in trouble” with his parents for the tirade).

“But sometimes that’s the way it is. It’s just frustration,” Subban said. “Usually I do a good job of controlling that but I guess it sort of boiled over. When you see guys like (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin out there dancing around and having their own way, it’s a little frustrating.”

If it’s not obvious enough already that this was one of those “nature of the beast” moments, even Montreal management seems to understand the outburst.

You can read more about Subban’s Monday reactions, and how Max Pacioretty dismisses any tension with Subban as a “non-story” in the Canadian Press’ piece.

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Oh, and here’s what Subban said. Cover any child’s eyes: