The Pittsburgh Penguins have won the first two games in the Stanley Cup Final. Some people look to the goaltender as the reason for winning and while Matt Murray is playing well, their captain, Sidney Crosby, is playing better.
Although he hasn’t scored a goal yet, he has been instrumental in his team’s success so far against the San Jose Sharks.
Crosby is generating all kinds of scoring chances, especially with a devastating backhand, for himself and his teammates. Whether it is a perfectly placed backhanded, cross ice pass in Game 1 or winning the draw for the overtime winner in Game 2, Crosby is making the Sharks work hard to keep him off the scoresheet.
With the defence of San Jose occupied with Crosby making great plays all the time, the other players are able to generate a ridiculous number of shots on goal every game. The HBK line of Hagelin, Bonino, and Kessel are the most obvious benefactors of not having to face to opposing teams top defences, including the Sharks. This line has generated 50 points so far and show no signs of slowing down.
Speaking of the overtime winning goal scored by rookie Conor Sheary and assisted by Kris Letang, it has become known that Crosby orchestrated the play from the beginning. This does not simply mean “i’m gonna win the faceoff and then you pass and you shoot.” Crosby switched the defencemen to get the puck to Letang, switched the forwards for Sheary to be on the boards, then told him to find a sweet spot in the middle of the ice. Crosby was also right in front of the net when the puck went in, meaning he knew the play and was there in case of a rebound.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals was game number 100 for the Penguins this year. That is a lot of hockey and on off-days most players take the day to rest. Guess who was in the rink practising one-timers and faceoffs after game 99? Crosby was one of six players on the ice for the optional practise with only fourth liner Eric Fehr to have also played the night before.
Almost everyone who knows Sidney Crosby has said that his work ethic is second to none. Recently, his sister and assistant coach Rick Tocchet have commented that he is always doing something to stay sharp. Whether it is working out in the gym, practising on the ice after game number 99, or something as simple as eating right and going to bed early, Crosby is always looking to better his game. To get that little extra edge.
This little things translate into big game plays like the play in the Game 2 overtime. It take lots of practise, patience, and dedication to make yourself one of the best players on the planet. Sidney Crosby does these little things all the time and that is why he has lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to two wins away from the Stanley Cup.