If you needed a reminder that things can swing wildly during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the last two nights should do the trick. For a part of Game 5, it looked like the Penguins would eliminate the Rangers. Instead, the Rangers rallied to win Game 5 by a score of 5-3, and a Sidney Crosby injury looms over this very-much-alive series.
Teams are cagey about injuries even with low stakes, so we’ll see how much we learn about this injury to Sidney Crosby.
All we know is that Crosby couldn’t continue, and that there will be a Game 6 between the Rangers and Penguins.
Coach Sullivan on if he has any updates on Sidney Crosby: "No, he is being evaluated right now."
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 12, 2022
If the rest of this series follows this lead, expect more twists and turns between the Rangers and Penguins.
Crosby injured as Game 5 of Rangers – Penguins ends up physical
After an awful Game 4 loss, Gerard Gallant buried the Rangers as “soft.” While the team’s in-zone coverage was still lacking at times, they certainly responded with physicality.
Jacob Trouba was one of the most prominent of those hitters. Very early on, Trouba was whistled for elbowing Jake Guentzel. That wasn’t the bit of contact that could change things for both the Rangers and the Penguins, though.
Sidney Crosby left the ice after a high hit by Jacob Trouba. As you can see from the clip below, Crosby also took a high-stick during Game 5. After leaving the ice during the second period, Sidney Crosby did not return for the Penguins.
Here’s the hit:
This hit has kept Sidney Crosby out since the second period. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/AcN9kAH8wn
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 12, 2022
This also includes the high-stick:
Not great pic.twitter.com/ZvcjCgn0Qn
— John (@jtarbett) May 12, 2022
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he wasn’t happy with the Jacob Trouba hit on Sidney Crosby … without technically saying it.
“Did you see the hit?,” Sullivan said. “You probably have the same opinion I do.”
Plenty of swings, especially once Crosby left with a likely injury
When Crosby left Game 5, the Penguins were up 2-0, and the Rangers looked rudderless.
That outlook turned on a dime. Adam Fox, Alexis Lafrenière, and Jacob Trouba scored three goals in 2:42 to give the Rangers a brief 3-2 lead. To cement the thought that there won’t be many dull moments between these teams, Jake Guentzel made it 3-3 just 13 seconds later.
From there, Rangers – Penguins remained frenetic, violent, and full of penalties.
Consider special teams something of a side story of this one. Just 24 seconds into Game 5, the Penguins received a full two-minute 5-on-3 power play against the Rangers. Pittsburgh rarely threatened there, giving the MSG crowd some life.
About three minutes into the third period, Filip Chytil scored the game-winner on the power play.
Between that PPG and some disciplinary lapses in the third, the Rangers took advantage of the Penguins’ mistakes to hold on for a Game 5 win. An empty-netter exaggerated the outcome, but this was a gutsy win for New York.
Will Crosby be sidelined with an injury? Might Igor Shesterkin be able to influence this series, and silence sudden doubters? Stay tuned.
NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (PIT leads 3-2)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: May 13, 7 p.m. ET – Rangers at Penguins (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 7: May 15, TBD – Penguins at Rangers (TBD)
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.