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Insider Only Small Sample or sign of things to come? Crosby not Malkin has been seeing Top ‘D’ pairing in last three road games


Sidney Crosby played a great hockey game in the Penguins 3-2 overtime loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Well let’s say a great game offensively as Crosby sleep walking and heading up ice on the Hurricanes first goal can’t be brushed to the side.

Crosby picked up two assists in the win. He won a key offensive zone draw leading to Kris Letang’s second period goal then from the below the goal line setup Kunitz in front for the tying goal.

At even strength the possession numbers were excellent (22 SAF, 14 SAA) vs Carolina.

Patric Hornqvist being put on the Crosby line in the second period also provided a jolt. The two will remain together tonight vs the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Crosby’s game started to improve over the past four to six weeks when he started taking advantage of avoiding the oppositions top pairing. Something that rarely happened in the past, opposing coaches feared Evgeni Malkin as a bigger threat by putting their top pairing against Malkin but is that starting to sway back to Crosby?

The last three games on the road for the Penguins showed Chicago’s Joel Quenneville, Montreal’s Michel Therrien and Carolina’s Bill Peters putting their top pairing against the Crosby line over the Malkin line.

Wednesday night at even strength Crosby was out against the Duncan Keith/Nicklas Hjalmarsson pairing for 12:34 and finished with a corsi rating of 31%. Malkin faced Keith for just 2:50, according to War on Ice.

Saturday night at even strength Crosby was out against PK Subban for 8:34 of his 15:10 ice time at even strength. Subban had the clear edge as Crosby had a 33.3 CF% when Subban was on the ice. Malkin was on the ice for under 4 minutes at even strength against Subban.

Tuesday night against Carolina, Crosby was out against Carolina’s top blueliner Justin Faulk for 10:22 of 16:34 at even strength.

Unlike the previous two nights, Crosby got the edge against the Hurricanes top pairing. Faulk was on the ice for both even strength goals against the Crosby line and Crosby had a 57 CF% vs Faulk. The Hurricanes opted to match Ron Hainsey against the Malkin line.


— The report in the New York Post Thursday about a major rift between Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux had many parts in it that were greatly exaggerated but just because the team refutes everything from it doesn’t mean everything in the article is false. What the article was right about was a major miscalculation by Burkle in believing this team would go for more than $600 million let alone the staggering asking price of $750 million they were seeking. This franchise won’t go for over $475 million and Lemieux, others know it. Ron Burkle just doesn’t want to believe it yet.

While I don’t believe there’s a rift between the co-owners, is the Lemieux-Burkle relationship as strong as it used to be? Indications are no and it started to change in 2014 when Mario preferred to keep Ray Shero, while David Morehouse and Burkle wanted to clean house.

— David Perron enters tonight’s game with no goals in his last 18 games and no even strength goals in his last 23.

— The Penguins are getting trade calls on winger Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist

David Perron – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel

Tom Kuhnhackl – Matt Cullen – Conor Sheary

Kevin Porter – Eric Fehr – Bryan Rust


Olli Maatta – Kris letang

Brian Dumoulin – Ben Lovejoy

Ian Cole – Trevor Daley

Marc Andre Fleury in Goal

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

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

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