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Game 2 showed Sidney Crosby getting the puck with time and space is quite the concept

Linemates creating Time & Space for 87 =’s a Crosby OT winner

It’s about time that bum Crosby scored a goal.

Did you notice something different about his overtime goal to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night?

Someone set HIM up for the shot. He had to yell at Bryan Rust when he had a few rare seconds of open ice and an open shot and snapped a ridiculous one-timer past Andrei Vasilevskiy and the series was tied 1-1.

Despite having just proven it to be untrue less than a week before, consensus among the fans and most of the media was, “The Penguins won’t win the series if Crosby and Malkin don’t score.”

Crosby didn’t score against the team that won the President’s Trophy and the Penguins won in six games.

Since so many people insist on measuring Crosby’s performance only on the number of points or goals he has at the end of a game, I decided to take some notes Monday night.

I noticed that the first two goals by the Penguins, both in the first period, were scored by guys who had time and space. Matt Cullen and Phil Kessel both got juicy rebounds.

At 10:32 of the first, Crosby won a face off in the offensive zone. The puck came to Kris Letang at the point. His shot was stopped by Vasilevskiy and the Lightning cleared the puck. The shift produced 15 seconds of offensive zone time.

At the 12:36 mark, Crosby won a face off in the defensive zone. The Lightning cleared and Crosby drew a penalty trying to retrieve the puck.

He barely touched the puck on the ensuing power play.

At 6:37 Crosby came over the boards on a line change and was behind the play. He collided with Conor Sheary and Tampa Bay scored.

Fifteen seconds later the Penguins went on the power play. Crosby never touched the puck.

I didn’t see too many opportunities for Crosby to score a goal in the first 20 minutes. He could have had an assist or two but that would’ve required somebody ELSE to bury the puck.

At 14:55 of the second he won a face off and fed Patric Hornqvist, whose shot was stopped on a good save.

At 9:28 Evgeni Malkin gave the puck to Crosby coming with some speed and open ice. Crosby put a signature backhanded shot on net and Vasilevskiy made his best save of the night.

In between periods Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury of NBC Sports Network criticized Crosby’s work ethic. Roenick also said Crosby might be frustrated by, “The lack of commitment from his teammates to put the puck on his stick.”

Crosby was all over the ice in the third period when the Penguins regained the momentum.

Then came overtime.

After the game Crosby’s teammates didn’t have a lot of patience for the Crosby finally showed up in the playoffs theme. Hornqvist said, “The media, you guys are all over Crosby and I think he’s top five in scoring in the playoffs.”

Kris Letang patiently tried to explain that it’s different in the playoffs and shot down the “Crosby and Malkin are reduced to decoys” theory tweeted out by one member of the media Tuesday night.

“We don’t care about his production in the playoffs. He’s getting pressured a lot by their D and he’s facing their top line every night. He makes a lot of room for us on the ice to make plays. Eventually it’s going to come.”

What a concept.

Murray wasn’t the Problem

-Now, what do you do with the goaltender?

You leave him in, of course.

Matt Murray may have been one goal away from being yanked Tuesday night. Mike Sullivan was caught on camera asking Marc Andre Fleury if he was ready to go.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think the start of the second period of a tied 2-2 Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final is a good time to put in the goalie who hasn’t faced a game puck in six weeks.

Even if he is a future Hall of Famer.

And when it’s 2-2 after three periods, chances are pretty good that your goaltender is not your problem. Their goaltender, maybe. Not yours.

Lightning are on to something

–The Penguins’ chances of winning a game in Tampa were greatly diminished when the Lightning decided not to let anyone wearing Penguins jerseys to sit in the first few rows.

Actually, the Lightning may be on to something. Not their attempt to preserve home ice advantage but reserving the right to ban visiting team jerseys.

There are plenty of venues where that would be a good idea.

Consol Energy Center when the Flyers are in town comes to mind.

Not to preserve home ice advantage but to preserve human life.

Think it would be a good idea for the San Francisco 49ers to ban Raiders’ gear from their home games?

Meanwhile the Penguins fans banned from wearing their jerseys to Game 3 have my deepest sympathy for being forced to attend a game dressed as an adult.

About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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