Written by The Burgh Blog writer: Austin Tocco
Finally, at long last, Sidney Crosby is on the board with an enormous goal that led the Penguins to a 3-2 win in overtime against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just 40 seconds into the overtime period, Bryan Rust broke away on a 3 on 1 and everyone in the building heard Sidney Crosby calling for the puck. He wanted nothing more than to end the game not only for the team, but for himself. That OT goal by Crosby was his first OT playoff goal of his career. People may be questioning why he has not scored in a situation like that before, well, Mario Lemieux has not even scored a playoff OT goal so relax. The Penguins converted on what most people were considering a must win game 2, now they have a great chance to steal the thunder at the home of the Lightning.
The Penguins were able to control the lethal offense of the Lightning to only 2 goals. The Penguins scored both of their goals in regulation time in the first period early. After the first period, everyone saw Mike Sullivan say to Marc-Andre Fleury, “be ready,” calmly, Fleury replied, “I am.” At this point, all the talk was that if Murray let in another goal, you could expect the flower to take over for the first time this postseason. The 21 year old Matt Murray was not going to let that happen. Murray closed the door in the second and third periods allowing only 2 goals on 21 shots. Matt Murray’s vision on the ice was once again, superb. The passing of the Lightning is often hard for a fan to follow, yet alone a goaltender with 5 different bodies in front of him. Tampa really looked solid for the early part of the second period, after that, the Penguins dictated the play through the game and into overtime.
It felt like old times, Crosby with the game on his stick in the Eastern Conference Finals and he converts. The expression on his face said it all, his sense of relief and excitement were at an all-time high. I bet the reporters and social media finally gave Sid the Kid a break for once. It might only be one goal, but the timing of that goal could not have been any better. “Slap me silly, Sidney,” the voice of the Penguins Mike Lange said when Crosby scored that goal. I could really get used to Crosby scoring and I am sure the players truly appreciate the effort. Patric Hornqvist said after the game, “That’s a huge goal for our team and he’s the perfect player to get it, too.” Seeing a quote like that gives me the chills, the players including Crosby were not oblivious to the fact that Crosby has struggled this post-season. That goal might have been the best goal of Sidney Crosby’s career up to this point. The entire game, Crosby generated an offense that lead to 6 shots, a penalty, and a goal. You have to hand it to Andrei Vasilevskiy who had a stellar game in net, stunning Crosby on a wonderful chance with a blocker save. Crosby knows that his production needs to improve, it is a good thing he has at least 3 more chances to prove the critics wrong.
The Penguins head to Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida for game 3 Wednesday night on NBCSN at 8:00. They look to go up in the series 2-1 away from Consol Energy Center. There will still be adjustments made by head coach Mike Sullivan before game time, it will be up to the players to take control and execute in a way that will allow them to end the night with a victory. Tampa Bay won game 1, the Penguins won game 2, good thing Lightning cannot strike twice in the same place.
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