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Pens' Stevens loves seeing Crosby near net

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Monday, June 1, 2009

DETROIT — If anybody is going to break his franchise single-season record of 17 playoff goals, former Penguins winger Kevin Stevens can think of nobody better than current team captain Sidney Crosby.

"Especially with the way he's been scoring these goals; most of them are with him in the paint, and that's something I can appreciate," Stevens said Sunday before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

Now a scout with the Penguins, Stevens scored 17 goals for the 1991 Cup-winning club. Crosby was within three of tying that mark before last night.

Going to the crease, let alone beating goaltenders from around it, is not as easy as Crosby and Red Wings winger Johan Franzen, who had 11 goals before last night, have made it appear in the playoffs.

Stevens, of course, made millions and won the admiration of blue-collar Pittsburgh fans for his ability to score so-called "dirty goals" in the early 1990s. A punishing forward at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds in his prime, Stevens scored at least 40 goals in four consecutive seasons from 1990-94 during his first run with the Penguins.

"I always thought the thing about scoring where (Crosby's) scoring from, it's all about body positioning and being hungry to get that puck in the net," Stevens said of Crosby, who stands 5-11 and weights 200 pounds.

"You see Sid whacking and hacking away at loose pucks. He's doing everything he can to get that puck across the goal line. That's battling. That's paying the price, because getting into those spots on the ice will leave you beat up, but it's worth it to get a goal. I love watching Sid, because he gets that."

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