Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
WASHINGTON — Sidney Crosby knows the Penguins can play better.
Of course, they do not always need to because of performances like the one he provided Monday night.
In a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center, Crosby was the sure-shooting goal scorer and the sharp-passing playmaker and the forechecking penalty killer and the defender below his own goal line.
He also won 14 of 19 faceoffs.
Every example of his value was on display in front of the Capitals fans that loathe him and the captain of their team, Alex Ovechkin, Crosby's chief rival of nine NHL seasons and a three-time — and reigning — MVP.
“It was a very good game,” coach Dan Bylsma said, smiling as he searched in vain for a more fitting description of Crosby's work against Washington.
Good did not do justice to the one-time shot Crosby whipped past Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak about three minutes after setting up left winger Chris Kunitz's opening goal in the first period. Crosby eyed the open side of the net while positioning himself to receive a “great pass” from center Evgeni Malkin.
He also is eying a second MVP and scoring title. After also assisting on Kunitz's 31st goal, scored in the second period, Crosby's league-best point total stands at 87.
He paces the NHL with 57 assists, and his 30 goals are more than the combined total of the players ranked Nos. 2-4 in assists.
The Penguins (43-17-4, 90 points) went 3-2-0 on a grueling five-game road trip that covered six cities and more than 7,000 miles and included three games against Western Conference powers Chicago, San Jose and Anaheim.
Crosby played a pivotal role in each victory.
A week ago, at Nashville, he assisted on each of the Penguins' goals in a 3-1 victory over the Predators.
Over the weekend at Anaheim, Crosby's behind-the-back pass started a tic-tac-toe sequence that ended with Malkin's tying goal in the third period of an eventual 3-2 shootout win.
The Penguins will play Washington on Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center, and veteran winger Craig Adams said he is hopeful their overall performance begins to improve.
“I still don't feel great about the way we're playing,” Adams said. “We did some good things, but we didn't put a complete game together. Again (Monday night) we spent too much time in our own end.
“We defended well, but we don't want to defend all the time. We want to play in their end.”
Too much energy spent defending contributed to a too-many-men minor penalty with 2 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Penguins' top-ranked penalty kill held off the Capitals' No. 2-ranked power play, including 1:01 with an extra attacker because Halak was pulled.
Goalie Jeff Zatkoff (31 saves) credited his penalty killers with closing off lanes to Ovechkin, the NHL goal leader and possessor of a right-handed shot that has produced 145 career power-play goals.
Ovechkin finished with eight attempted shots, but three were blocked, and he misfired on another.
Statistically, the Penguins lost the road trip all but in the wins ledger. The Penguins were outshot 170-110 and outscored 15-12.
“We understand that's not going to be a winning formula down the stretch,” Crosby said.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Red Wings rally, shock Penguins in overtime
- Predators winger Neal caught ‘blindsided’ by trade from Penguins
- Rossi: Middling Steelers must make a statement
- Steelers free safety Mitchell is still settling into role on defense
- Report linking field surface to cancer elicits Mt. Lebanon protest
- Steelers’ Adams delivers in pinch against Texans
- Former Ligonier Township supervisor accused of costing residents thousands, viewing porn on the job
- House has Pitt defense trending in right direction
- Propels leave the lights on to showcase their after-school activities
- 3 Pitt football recruits plan to enroll early
- Federal grand jury reviewing Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board violations, sources tell Trib