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The Penguins Thursday night vs the Carolina Hurricanes had a near identical start to Sunday afternoon’s game vs the New York Rangers.

Pittsburgh was atrocious defensively with the difference being the Hurricanes getting two quick goals to go ahead 2-0, something the Rangers were unable to do.

The Penguins were again playing with fire due to a poor start but this was a Hurricanes team with the personnel they had in the lineup that resembled more of a bottom-5 lottery team than a team that’s six points out of a playoff spot.

The way the Penguins were able to push the pace offensively even while down 2-0, whoever got that next goal when it was 2-0 Carolina, was going to win the game.

And that’s where Sidney Crosby came into the picture to make sure it wasn’t Carolina. Crosby was a man possessed with playing a dominant 200 ft game and he took the game over. The Hurricanes were a tap in goal away from going up 3-0.

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Crosby then goes the other way with a great individual goal to make it a 2-1 game. It was a major momentum change in the game and he wasn’t done.

Among other things, an exceptional back check in the second period to halt a Hurricanes 3-on-1 rush and then Crosby followed that up with the go-ahead goal at 17:59 of the first period to put the Penguins up 3-2.

Crosby’s two goal night were his 30th, 31st goals of the season, marking the seventh 30-goal season of his career. Crosby is also in the midst of a 10 game points streak, the second 10-game points streak for him this season.

The points, though, just haven’t told the whole story of his impact lately. As mentioned after Tuesday night’s game, his play away from the puck, notably the determination on the back check and winning puck battles, is just as important right now in the message it’s sending to his teammates.

Crosby is leading the charge and he’s leading the way that he should be.


— A pretty telling game for Matt Murray that shows again how bright the future is for him. Falls down early 2-0 with the first goal being a bad one but he never lost composure. The Penguins gave up way too many high danger scoring chances even after the poor start and Murray was able to shut the door.

Stopped a 2-on-0 breakaway when the Canes were up and on the penalty kill he showed great angles as the Hurricanes were going to have to beat him with a great shot.

Ian Cole is seeing a little bit of a resurgence since returning to the lineup. 2 Assists in the win, including an excellent primary assist with a fake shot/pass on Sidney Crosby’s go ahead goal. The offense is a bonus in the eyes of the coaching staff. Defensively the coaches have been thrilled with Cole’s improved play in front of the net as Mike Sullivan explained in depth after Thursday’s win. To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!