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Insider Only Crosby’s Walk-Off & PIT-NJD Key Takaways

On MLB Opening Day, Sidney Crosby did it again in delivering a walk-off winner for the Penguins in a 4-3 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Crosby with goals in 5 straight games is now up to 28 goals and 85 points on the season. With 7 goals in March, this is the first month since November Crosby has scored at least 5 goals in a month.

As Evgeni Malkin’s game has taken a step back of late, over the last week Crosby has found that special level again where he’s dominating games in all facets. It’s been a weird season for him in putting pucks in the net but he’s in one of those stretches right now where you’re not surprised at the type of goals he’s scoring.


— Patric Hornqvist declared before the game the Penguins would rise to occasion like they always do and with them trailing 3-2 they did. This was a situation where at the mid-mark of the third period with the Penguins down one, they were in jeopardy with a regulation loss of being right in the discussion of potentially falling back to the last wildcard spot and even the defending Champions don’t want to start the playoffs and have to go through the Atlantic Division and deal with either Boston who are playing lights out or Tampa Bay.

Instead the Penguins come out of Jersey 5 points up on the Devils and a Capitals loss on Friday would give the Penguins a chance to move three points behind the Capitals for first place if the Penguins take care of business Saturday night against the lowly Canadiens.

— New Jersey 3 points up on Panthers for the final wildcard spot, are a team that is showing an ability to give the top contenders in the East matchup problems, primarily because of their speed game and as mentioned before there’s enough high-end talent up front to be a threat to steal some games.

Hard to see them beating Tampa Bay or Boston if they end up as the final wildcard seed, but how Washington sometimes is vulnerable to teams that can push the pace like the Devils can, that would set up to be a pretty first round series, where I’d still lean Washington but New Jersey would give them a good series if they get the goaltending which is 50-50.

Marcus Johansson, though, coming back healthy would be a big-time addition for the Devils.

— Conor Sheary scored his 16th goal of the season in the win and he’s been much more effectively lately at finding the soft spots in a defense, it’s leading to an increase in goal scoring production for him, similar to how when he was going well last season.

— The Penguins No. 6 defenseman is still in flux with Matt Hunwick returning to the lineup vs New Jersey. I hear the coaches would still like for him to earn that spot as they like him on the PK better. On the Taylor Hall power play goal against, one can argue Hunwick didn’t rotate quick enough but that goal against was on Josh Jooris who was atrocious in failing to get the puck out.

Pittsburgh would allow a similar goal against in the third, this time 5-on-5, to go down 3-2 where Justin Schultz couldn’t get the puck out and Blake Coleman would capitalize.

As for Hunwick, he was okay in his return to the lineup. Had some good moments in making some strong outlet passes. Pittsburgh’s No. 6 d-man situation is what it is.

— As of early Friday morning, the Penguins were fairly confident Derick Brassard in dealing with a Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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